The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has provisionally attached assets worth Rs 255 crore of firms associated with Maharashtra MLA from Rashtriya Samaj Paksha Ratnakar Gutte in connection with a Rs 635-crore bank fraud case, the agency said in a statement.
ED has attached assets of Gangakhed Sugar & Energy Ltd, Yogeswari Hatcheries, and Gangakhed Solar Power Ltd under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA). Gangakhed Sugar is owned by Gutte, who is also the chairman.
ED has alleged that Gutte along with others misused an agricultural loan facility for poor farmers. Under the loan scheme, banks financed sugar farmers (based on their land holdings) to buy inputs and necessary equipment for their crops such as seeds, fertilisers, manure, tractor, pumps and so on.
The agency alleged that Gutte and his associates created a data bank of farmers by collecting their KYC (know your customer) details while buying their crop. Gangakhed Sugar then tied up with banks to get agricultural loan for farmers. In effect, it became an agent for banks and had the responsibility of doing KYC verification of farmers.
ED said its investigations revealed that Gangakhed Sugar used these KYC details to forge agricultural loan proposals in the name of farmers. Banks sanctioned loans worth Rs 772 crore and disbursed Rs 635 crore on the basis of these forged proposals between 2012-13 and 2016-17, it added.
Moreover, these funds were never used by farmers and siphoned off to different bank accounts of Gangakhed Sugar on the basis of forged consent letters signed by farmers, the agency alleged. It added that this money was used by the company to buy land, construct a factor, purchase shares, repay loans etc.
The attached assets include a sugar plant and machinery worth Rs 247 crore belonging to Gangakhed Sugar, land worth Rs 5 crore belonging to the three companies, bank balances of Rs 1.58 crore, and investment in shares valued at Rs 1.91 crore held by Gangakhed Sugar.
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