Srinagar:Jammu and Kashmir’s Anti-Corruption Bureau has accused Hilal Rather, son of former finance minister of the erstwhile state Abdul Rahim Rather, of committing bank fraud to the tune of Rs 177 crore, and diverting funds towards foreign tours, buying land assets and expensive watches, and even sponsoring the popular comedy TV programmeKapil Sharma Show.
The ACB has, as of 5 March, handed over the case to the CBI, citing international ramifications to the case. The allegations have been made in the investigation documents handed over to the CBI along with the original FIR. The documents have been accessed by ThePrint.
Hilal Rather was arrested by the ACB in January, and remains in its custody. His father —considered an influential Kashmiri politician who served as finance, agriculture, rural development, law and parliamentary affairs minister under Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah’s National Conference-led governments — is among the politicians put under house arrest ahead of the central government’s decision to scrap Article 370 in August last year.
The ACB had, in June last year, registered a financial irregularities case against officials of the J&K Bank for sanctioning a loan of Rs 74.27 crore to a partnership firm named Paradise Avenue for the purpose of setting up a residential township in Jammu’s Narwal area. It subsequently found three other loans sanctioned to the same firm between 2012 and 2017, amounting to Rs 177 crore. Rather junior was arrested by the ACB in January.
It is alleged that J&K Bank officials granted the loan to Rather and his partners under political influence, flouting all norms and the financial code of the bank. The loan had turned into a non-performing asset in 2017.
In its findings submitted to the CBI, the ACB said Rather was one of the partners in the firm, with a 33.33 per cent stake, while the rest was owned by Daljit Wadhera, Deepshikha Jamwal, Dr Rizwan Rahim Dar and Ghulam Mohammad Bhat.
“Scrutiny of the records reveal that a portion of the loan amount was diverted for the purchase of movable and immovable assets in India and abroad, paying fuel bills of Simula Software Solutions (a sister concern of Paradise Avenue), paying salaries of employees of Simula Software Solutions, buying expensive watches etc,” the ACB stated in its probe documents.