The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Crime registered eight separate cases against 26 persons for allegedly defrauding Kutch District Central Cooperative (KDCC) Bank to the tune of around Rs 35 crore loans by using forged documents and not repaying them.
In a pre-dawn operation, teams of CID detained 26 persons for questioning, with officers saying that the fraud case was indirectly connected to alleged murder of former BJP MLA Jayanti Bhanushali.
The CID registered cases against eight village cooperative societies of Abdasa and Mandvi talukas of Kutch district and picked up their office-bearers and members. These cooperative societies are member societies of KDCC Bank, police said.
“In some cases, loans were availed in the name of persons who are no more whereas in others, loans were availed in the name of persons who are not members of the cooperative societies. Managers of local branches of the banks approved loan applications and the head office of the bank, under influence of some office-bearers of the bank, sanctioned loans. The bank is estimating that the fraud is to the tune of around Rs 35 crore,” Gautam Parmar, deputy inspector general of police (CID-Crime and Rail-ways), told The Indian Express.
The fresh FIRs follows a case registered by the CID (crime) in May 2019 against Jayanti Thakkar alias Jayanti Dumra and others for allegedly hatching a criminal conspiracy and availing loans from the KDCC Bank using forged documents. Thakkar, who was a director of the KDCC Bank, and managers of KDCC branches in Kothara in Abdasa taluka and Mandvi in Mandvi taluka were arrested by the CID.
The alleged fraud came to light in 2015 and the bank had reported the matter to police. Based on the application of the bank, CID (crime) initiated an inquiry into the matter. However, a local court in Naliya, stayed the inquiry. The bank challenged the stay order before the Gujarat High Court and the HC vacated the stay in October 2018. Months later, CID (crime) registered the first FIR in connection with the alleged fraud.
The DIG said that Thakkar was a common thread in a few of these cases that were also indirectly connected to Bhanushali’s murder. He said that Thakkar and Bhanushali were good friends but they fell out. “After that, Bhan-ushali wanted the stay in the fraud case to be vacated. Therefore, Thakkar held a grudge against Bhanushali, eventually leading to the latter’s murder,” said Parmar.
Bhanushali, former BJP MLA from Abdasa Assembly seat and former vice-president of BJP’s Gujarat state unit, was allegedly shot dead on board a moving train on January 7 2019. An SIT probe revealed that Chhabil Patel, former Congress MLA from Abdasa who joined the BJP in 2012 and Thakkar plotted the murder. Weeks after his arrest, Thakkar was arrested by CID in the KDCC Bank fraud case filed in May, 2019.
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