ED attaches properties worth Rs 255 crore in case related to fraudulent agricultural loans

New Delhi, December 24, 2020

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has said that it has provisionally attached assets worth Rs 255 crore of Gangakhed Sugar & Energy Limited (GSEL), Yogeswari Hatcheries and Gangakhed Solar Power Limited under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) in a case of alleged fraudulent agricultural bank loans in the names of poor farmers.

A press release from ED said the attached assets include sugar plant and machinery of GSEL worth Rs 247 crores, situated at Gangakhed in Parbhani district of Maharashtra, land worth Rs 5 crore of GSEL, Yogeswari Hatcheries and Gangakhed Solar Power Limited in Parbhani, Beed and Dhule in Maharashtra, bank balance of Rs 1.58 crore, and investment in shares of Rs 1.91 crore held in the name of GSEL.

According to the release, the ED had initiated investigation in May 2019 under the provisions of PMLA on the basis of a first information report (FIR) registered by Gangakhed Police againnst GSEL, its chairman Ratnakar Gutte and others unders sections 420, 467, 468, 417, 471, 120B, 34 of IPC for allegedly fraudulently availing agricultural loans in the names of poor farmers, on the basis of forged loan proposals submitted to the banks.

CID Aurangabad has filed the chargesheet for embezzlement and mis-appropriation of the funds.

"GSEL is a sugar factory situated at Gangakhed district, Parbhani, Maharastra. Investigation revealed that the chairman of GSEL with the connivance of others misused the agricultural loan facility meant for poor farmers.

"The scheme of agricultural loan is formulated for financing the farmers coming under the command area of sugar factory. Its aim is to meet the financial needs of the farmers and it is given by the banks to the sugarcane farmers based on their land holding for raising their crop which includes among other things to purchase seeds, fertilizers, manures, machinery, tractor, pump, harvesting and transportation of the crop.

"Investigation also revealed that accused person created the data bank of the farmers, who supplied the sugarcane to the factory, by collecting their KYC at the time of purchasing the sugarcane from the farmers coming under the command area of sugar factory. The said factory further made a tie-up agreement with the banks for obtaining the agricultural loan for the farmers. By virtue of the tie-up agreement, GSEL become the agent for the banks, whose responsibility was to do KYC verification of the farmers. Investigation revealed that during the period from 2012-13 to 2016-17, GSEL made forged agricultural loan proposals in the name of the farmers on the basis of farmers' KYC and submitted to the banks. Based on these forged proposal loan proposals, banks sanctioned agricultural loans of around Rs 772 crore.

"Investigation into money trail further revealed that using this modus operandi, around Rs 635 crore were disbursed by the banks into the bank accounts opened in the name of the farmers. Investigation revealed that the funds were never utilized by the farmers and instead it was siphoned off in to the different bank accounts of GSEL on the basis of the forged consent letter of the farmers. Investigation further revealed this ill-gotten money was utilized by the accused for purchase of the land, for erection and fabrication of the GSEL plant, purchase of the shares, operative expenditure of the plant, repayment of the loan, administrative expenses etc, defeating the very purpose of the agricultural loan, thereby the agricultural loans of around Rs 255 crore become NPA. The identified assets totaling to Rs 255 crore have been provisionally attached under PMLA. Further investigation is under progress," the release added.

NNN

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