Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached assets worth ₹255 crores of M/s Gangakhed Sugar & Energy Limited (M/s GSEL), M/s Yogeswari Hatcheries, M/s Gangakhed Solar Power Limited under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) in agricultural bank loan fraud case.
"The attached assets include sugar plant and machinery of M/s GSEL worth ₹247 crores, situated at Gangakhed in Parbhani, worth ₹5 crores of M/s GSEL, M/s Yogeswari Hatcheries, M/s Gangakhed Power Solar Limited situated at District Parbhani, Beed, Dhule Maharashtra, Bank Balance of ₹1.58 crores, investment in shares of ₹1.91 crores held in the name of M/s GSEL," the ED said on Wednesday.
The ED initiated investigation in May 2019 on the basis of an FIR registered by Gangakhed Police, District against (GSEL), politician Ratnakar Gutte who was chairman and others. The accused were booked for fraudulently availing agricultural loan in the name of poor farmers, on the basis of forged loan proposals submitted to the banks. CID Aurangabad has filed the chargesheet for embezzlement and mis-appropriation of the funds.
"M/s GSEL is a sugar factory situated at Gangakhed District Parbhani, Maharashtra. Investigation revealed that the chairman with the connivance of others misused the agricultural loan facility meant for poor farmers. The scheme of agricultural loan is formulated for financing the farmers coming under the command area of sugar factory. Its aim is to meet the financial needs of the farmers and it is given by the banks to the sugarcane farmers based on their landholding for raising their crop which includes among other things to purchase the seeds, fertilizers, manures, machinery, tractor, pump, harvesting and transportation of the crop," the ED stated.
Investigation also revealed that accused person created the data bank of the farmers, who supplied the sugarcane to the factory, by collecting their Know Your Customer (KYC)at the time of purchasing the sugarcane from the farmers coming under the command area of sugar factory. The said factory further made a tie-up agreement with the banks for obtaining the agricultural loan for the farmers. By virtue of the tie-up agreement, M/s GSEL becomes the agent for the banks, whose responsibility was to do KYC verification of the farmers. Investigation revealed that during the period from 2012-13 to 2016-17, M/s GSEL made forged agricultural loan proposals in the name of the farmers on the basis of Farmers KYC and submitted to the banks. Based on these forged proposal loan proposals banks sanctioned the agricultural loan of around ₹772 Crores.
Investigation into money trail further revealed that using this modus operandi, around ₹635 crores were disbursed by the banks into the bank accounts opened in the name of the farmers. Investigation revealed that the fund were never utilized by the farmers and instead it was siphoned off into the different bank accounts of M/s GSEL on the basis of the forged consent letter of the farmers. Investigation further revealed this ill-gotten money was utilized by the accused for purchase of the land, for erection and fabrication of the GSEL plant, purchase of the shares, operative expenditure of the plant, repayment of the loan, administrative expenses etc defeating the very purpose of the agricultural loan, thereby the agricultural loans of around ₹255 crores become NPA. The identified assets totaling to ₹255 crore have been provisionally attached under PMLA.