PATIDAR QUOTA agitation leader leader Hardik Patel’s key aide Dinesh Bambhaniya and the latter’s business partner were arrested by Rajkot city police from near Mount Abu in Rajasthan on Tuesday in connection with a case of forgery and criminal conspiracy registered against them last month. A team of policemen, led by Bhaktinagar inspector Viral Gadhvi, arrested Bambhaniya and Rajesh Umretiya from Delwada near Mount Abu at 1.30 pm. “Bambhaniya and Umretiya had been putting up in a hotel in Delwada for the last four days. Based a tip-off, we went to Delwada and arrested the duo when they ventured out of their hotel room,” Gadhvi said.
The arrests of the two come exactly a month after they were booked for forgery, criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy by Bhaktinagar police on February 21 on the basis of a complaint filed by Bambhaniya’s brother-in-law Suresh Maraviya. In his complaint, Maraviya, a wholeseller of grains who also owns a showroom of sarees, had alleged that Bambhaniya conspired with staffers of a public sector bank to usurp Rs 1.97 crore from his bank account.
He had named Bambhaniya, Umretiya and officers of Dena Bank branch on Debar road of the city as accused. Maraviya had complained that that in 2013, Bambhaniya came to him and sought financial help to shore up his business of ginning and spinning cotton yarn. Maraviya agreed and availed Rs 1.97 crore worth of cash credit from Dena Bank branch on Debhar road.
However, instead of giving the cheque book to Maraviya, the bank officers gave it to Bambhaniya. The accused got transferred Rs1.97 crore in the account of Shreenathji Cotex Private Limited, a ginning and spinning firm promoted by Bambhaniya and others and having its factory near Jetpur in Rajkot district. Not only this, the complaint read, Bambhaniya forged Maraviya’s signature on 18 cheques and other documents to transfer the money into account of his company. Moraviya also alleged that Bambhaniya threatened him not to file a complaint in this regard.
After the Bhaktinagar police registered a case against him, Bambhaniya, a member of the core group of Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), moved the Gujarat High Court seeking quashing of the FIR. “However, the accused withdrew his plea after the High Court observed that charges against him were serious and that it was not inclined to grant his application,” Gadhvi said. The inspector added that the HC order had come around five days ago. He added that the then branch manager of Dena Bank had died.
After police registered the case against him, Bambhaniya denied the charge of cheating and forgery. He had told The Indian Express: “My in-laws are associated with BJP and my brother-in-law was under tremendous pressure to file this complaint. The cash credit in question was later converted into loan. That too turned into a non-performing asset later. When the matter reached court, my brother-in-law paid Rs 70 lakh to the bank and promised to pay the balance in installments. If we had usurped the money, why’d he make repayment?.” Varun Patel, spokesman of PAAS, claimed Bambhaniya’s arrest was part of a new strategy of the state government.