DS Kulkarni scam: Pune police arrest top Bank of Maharashtra officials

first_imgIn a simultaneous crackdown across different cities, the Pune police on Wednesday arrested six persons, including Ravindra Marathe, the CEO and MD of Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) and the bank’s former CMD Sushil Muhnot, in connection with the ₹2000-crore D.S. Kulkarni fraud case.Mr. Marathe was arrested from Pune and Mr. Muhnot was picked up from Jaipur for advancing loans to the fraud-accused realtor in alleged violation of banking norms.Besides them, the Economic and Offences Wing (EOW) teams arrested Rajendra Gupta, executive director, BoM, Sunil Ghatpande, D.S. Kulkarni’s chartered accountant and Rajeev Newaskar, vice-president, engineering department, DSK Developers Ltd (DSKDL) from Pune, and Nityanand Deshpande, zonal manager, BoM from Ahmedabad.The accused have been booked under sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 409 (Criminal breach of trust by public servant, banker, merchant or agent), 420 (cheating), 465 (forgery) and other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act, said Sudhir Hiremath, Deputy Commissioner of Police, EOW.Mr. Kulkarni, a prominent city-based developer known as ‘DSK’, and his wife Hemanti, are accused of defrauding thousands of investors across Pune, Mumbai and Kolhapur. Both of them are presently lodged in the city’s Yerwada Central Jail.“It appears that the bank officials colluded with DSKDL by sanctioning loans illegally and misusing their positions of authority to disburse credit in the garb of loan in flagrant violation of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines,” said an EOW official. RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar, who has been spearheading the fight against the developer on behalf of investors, called for the nexus between banks and DSK to be thoroughly probed.“BOM advanced loans to the developer [D. S. Kulkarni] despite the latter furnishing improper documentation. The end use of the loan was never checked. One such loan was sanctioned under the phoney rubric ‘to meet temporary mismatch in cash flows’,” said Mr. Kumbhar.“It is unfortunate that banks, which are otherwise fastidious about advancing loans to ordinary customers, should willfully flout norms while advancing loans to privileged customers like DSK,” he further said.Earlier this week, the Supreme Court rejected the interim bail plea of Mr. Kulkarni’s son, Shirish.Shirish Kulkarni, who was an executive director at (DSKDL) and a director in other partnership firms, has been charged with divesting depositors’ money for other purposes.Last month, the police arrested Mr. Kulkarni’s kin, including Kedar Vanjape, the son-in-law of Mr. Kulkarni’s brother and his wife Sai Vanjape.On 17 May, the EOW submitted a 36, 875-page charge sheet before a special court in Pune, pegging the scam committed by the DSK Group at ₹2,043 crore.Assets attachedIn May this year, the Maharashtra government had issued a notification directing authorities to attach 124 properties, 276 bank accounts and 46 vehicles belonging to the DSK Group on grounds of protecting the interests of the investors as Mr. Kulkarni was “unlikely to return their deposits.”In April, a special court for Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID) Act had rejected the regular bail applications of Mr. Kulkarni and his wife considering the magnitude of the multi-crore scam.Arguing against bail, Public Prosecutor Praveen Chavan had submitted that the scope Mr. Kulkarni’s scam went far beyond defrauding depositors and homebuyers and noted that despite the DSK group’s parlous financial condition since 2015, the conglomerate continued to collect deposits and beguile homebuyers by presenting a wrong picture of its financial health.The DSK group had raised ₹2,892 crore in bank loans against his pending projects, ₹1,153 crore from the depositors and ₹470 crore from homebuyers among other borrowings without possessing the wherewithal to repay this massive credit.At least five FIRs across Pune, Mumbai and Kolhapur have been lodged against the developer and his family since October 28 last year, with more than 3,000 investors filing cheating complaints against Mr. Kulkarni.More than 8,000 persons, a majority of them senior citizens, are said to have invested in the DSK group’s fixed deposit (FD) scheme.The builder and his wife were finally arrested on February 17 after being detained by a team of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Pune police in New Delhi and brought back to the city.last_img

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