Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED)’s money-laundering probe against Pune’s Seva Vikas Co-operative Bank has revealed that its former Board of Directors had allegedly violated banking norms while sanctioning loans to ineligible shell entities, agency officials said. The agency has under its scanner loan funds worth Rs429.6 crore spread across 126 accounts declared as Non-Performing Assets (NPA). As per an audit report’s findings, these funds were allegedly misappropriated.
RBI cancelled the bank's license last year
Last October, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had cancelled the bank’s licence on grounds that the lender did not have adequate capital and earning prospects. The bank had ceased to operate with effect from the close of business hours on Oct 10, 2022, the RBI said in a statement. Allegations had surfaced regarding irregularities in loan disbursement then.
The ED’s Friday searches at 10 premises – allegedly linked to three beneficiaries in Pimpri-Chinchwad and Pune – had led to the seizure of incriminating documents and valuables/cash worth over Rs3 crore.
During the search, the agency recovered gold and diamond jewellery worth Rs2.72 crore, Rs41 lakh cash and four high-end cars. Later, on a complaint by the ED, the bank’s ex-chairman Amar Mulchandani and five of his family members were arrested by the Pune police for alleged obstruction in search operation. Mr Mulchandani was found hiding inside a room. They were later remanded to judicial custody.
The ED had also searched Vinay Aranha of Rosary School, Pune and Sagar Suryawanshi, who allegedly benefitted from the scam, the ED said on Monday.
The ED had begun its probe under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on the basis of a case registered at Pune’s Vimantal police station against Mr Aranha and others for alleged loan fraud. Subsequently, the Joint Registrar (Audit) audited the bank and registered cases against loan beneficiaries and the bank’s management, including Mulchandani, based on the findings.
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