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Enforcement Directorate attaches assets of spices trading company in J&K Bank loan fraud case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached assets worth over ₹145 crore of a Bengaluru-based spices company in a money-laundering probe linked to an alleged loan fraud in the J&K Bank.

The Agency said in a statement issued on Wednesday that a factory building, shops, flats and lands of the company, S. A. Rawther Spices Private Limited and others were provisionally attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The total value of the attached properties is ₹145.26 crore, it said. The ED case stems from an FIR filed by the anti-corruption bureau of the J-K Police against the company and its promoter director Syed Anish Rawther, the then manager of J&K Bank branch located at BU Infantry Road in Bengaluru and other officials of the same bank, in August, 2019.

“In the FIR, it was alleged that S. A. Rawther Spices Private Limited defaulted loan and was declared NPA (non performing asset) in September, 2017. Net amount of ₹285.81 crore was outstanding with the company besides unapplied interest of ₹66.91 crore against mortgaged collateral property of ₹171 crore,” the ED said in a statement.

During the same period, it said, the firm “also borrowed ₹16.5 crore from HDFC Bank and ₹25 crore from RBL Bank and mortgaged the same property, which was already mortgaged with J&K Bank Ltd.” “The then branch manager [of J&K Bank] in connivance with promoter/director of the company caused loss to the State exchequer to the tune of ₹352.72 crore,” the Agency claimed.

The company obtained multiple loans and used them to export goods mostly to related parties and the export proceeds were never realised in India, it claimed.

“The company also diverted the funds to sister/group concerns by adjustment of their overdue export bills by releasing fresh packing credit, Inland Letters of Credit (ILC) towards dealings with sister concerns by way of accommodation of bills under garb of ILC.” “It was found that S. A. Rawther Spices Private Limited has availed packing credit loans from J&K Bank and used the same for servicing installments towards term loan account of Central Trade Agency Private Limited., which is a sister concern of the former company,” it said.(PTI)

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