Srinagar deputy mayor booked for ‘illegally appropriating’ subsidy

Bashaarat Masood
The agency also registered cases against several bank and government officials.

The Jammu and Kashmir Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Friday registered a case against Srinagar s Deputy Mayor, Sheikh Imran, for allegedly illegally appropriating Rs 16.50 crore in government subsidy and gratuitous One Time Settlements (OTS) from the J&K Bank. The agency also registered cases against several bank and government officials.

Imran, who is also the Director of the Kehwa Group of Companies, had set up a cold storage unit under M/S Kehwa Square Private Limited, at Lassipora in south Kashmir s Pulwama. The total projected cost of the unit was Rs 33 crore and it was eligible for a 50 per cent subsidy government, according to the norms of the Horticulture Mission for North East & Himalayan (HMNEH) States.

…The assessed cost of the project was Rs 33 crore with the subsidy component thereof calculated to Rs 16.50 crores i.e. 50% of estimated project cost (EPC). (The proposal) was sent to an empowered monitoring committee of the MIDH (Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture), Govt. of India, for final approval, an official release of the ACB said.

The agency has alleged that Sheikh, in connivance with bank and state government officials, sought to appropriate the Rs 16.50 crore subsidy by declaring the unit a Non-Performing Asset (NPA) without paying a single installment . The anti-corruption watchdog further claimed that the cost of the project was found much lower than the projected Rs 33 crore, during its inquiry.

According to the agency, Sheikh and the officials were aided by Nadeem Ahmad Mayar (Qasba), whose company Go Fresh applied for a loan of Rs 36.10 crore from J&K Bank to buy the cold storage unit, which was already hypothecated to the same bank. He physically took over the operation of the CA storage business unit without formal transfer of assets / liabilities in his favour.

Ironically, the bank authorities extended the loan facility to the proposed buyer on the same property which was already under hypothecation with the bank as asset of the principal borrower i.e M/S Kehwa Square Pvt. Ltd.