Assets worth more than Rs 45 crore have been attached under the anti-money laundering law in connection with a cooperative bank fraud in Karnataka, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said on Friday. The central probe agency said it issued a provisional order for attachment, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), of movable assets to the tune of Rs 7.16 crore in the form of bank balances and fixed deposits belonging to the president, ex-vice president, ex-CEO and present CEO of Sri Guru Raghavendra Sahakara Bank Niyamitha and Sri Guru Sarvabhouma Credit Co-Operative Ltd and their associates.
Also attached are 29 immovable properties worth Rs 38.16 crore in the form of agricultural land, residential apartments and houses held in the name of K Ramakrishna, late TS Sathyanarayana, late M V Maiya, Santosh Kumar A and various other employees of Sri Guru Raghavendra Sahakara Bank Niyamitha and Sri Guru Sarvabhouma Credit Co-Operative Ltd, all residents of Bangalore and other places in the state. The total value of the attached assets is Rs 45.32 crore, it said.
K Ramakrishna and late TS Sathyanarayana were president and vice president respectively of both Sri Guru Raghavendra Sahakara Bank Niyamitha and Sri Guru Sarvabhouma Credit Co-Operative Ltd. Sri Guru Sarvabhouma Credit Co-Operative Ltd was established by K Ramakrishna in 2015 to avoid paying Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) which co-operative banks are required to pay under the Income Tax Act, the ED said in a statement.
”Between 2016-2019, crores of rupees was transferred from the society (Sri Guru Sarvabhouma Credit Co-operative Ltd) to the bank. President and MV Maiya were responsible for transferring of the amounts from the said society to the NPA accounts of the bank to reduce the NPA parameter,” it said. The ED filed a PMLA case on the basis of an FIR registered by Bengaluru police in February this year.
The police FIR was filed under various sections of the Karnataka Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishments (KPID) Act of 2004 against late V Maiya and others for embezzlement of more than Rs 1,500 crore collected from a large number of depositors, mostly senior citizens, through fixed deposits by promising them high rate of interest ranging from 12-16 per cent every year. ”The accused persons withdrew money from the bank by creating fictitious loan accounts and did not repay the money and cheated public at large. The proceeds of crime were found to be laundered in the name of many bank employees also. The president and his family members are absconding and ex-CEO of the bank has committed suicide,” the probe agency said.
Investigation found that K Ramakrishna along with his wife and son, who is one of the Directors of Mukhyaprana Agro Farming and Research Info Pvt Ltd ”layered the proceeds of crime” in the name of the company and also in the name of Sri Guru Sarvabhouma Credit Co-Operative Ltd by diverting funds from Sri Guru Raghavendra Sahakara Bank Niyamitha. ”The former CEO, late Maiya had also purchased immovable properties in his name by diverting funds from the bank and society. Employees of the bank and society were also involved in diverting funds by creating fictitious loan accounts and purchased properties in their name and in the name of their associates,” the ED claimed.