Loan scam Mumbai

‘Not in our name’, farmers tell court as banks disburse loans on forged documents

Mumbai: The Aurangabad Bench of Bombay High Court has directed the Economic Offense Wing (EOW) of the state police to probe an alleged fraud in Marathwada’s Parbhani district where loans worth ₹328 crore from five nationalised and one private bank were taken in the names of thousands of farmers by allegedly forging the documents, without the farmers’ knowledge.

One of the accused in the case is Ratnakar Gutte, a local leader of Rashtriya Samaj Party (RSP), an alliance partner of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He is also a director of Gangakhed Sugar and Energy Private Limited, a sugar mill, where the loan was diverted. The loans were obtained in the names of farmers, who are the sugarcane farmers and the members of the factory.

The scam came to light after one of the petitioners approached the UCO Bank in Gangakhed to obtain a crop loan. “It was revealed that some loan amount has already been obtained and is outstanding against him, allegedly borrowed from Andhra Bank, Dharmapeth Branch in Nagpur,” said the court order. It was further revealed after checking the CIBIL record that crop loan amount has been disbursed through the said sugar factory.

It further stated, “After conducting further investigation, it was noticed by the petitioners that the loan amount has been disbursed in the name of dead persons through sugar factory by the concerned banks.”

A total of six banks, including five nationalised banks — Andhra Bank, UCO Bank, United Bank of India, Bank of India, Syndicate Bank — and a private bank, Ratnakar Bank, have disbursed loan amount worth ₹328 crore in a similar manner. It was revealed after farmers themselves decide to investigate the matter with the help of local MLA Madhusudan Kendre.

It is alleged that in most of the cases, the amount has been borrowed by tendering fictitious, false and fabricated documents to the bank. The concerned agriculturists have not consented nor tendered application forms for disbursement of the loan and that the benefits of crop loan have not been extended to those in whose name the amount is allegedly borrowed and deposited in the account of the factory. The same was highlighted in the internal audit report of the Syndicate Bank, which was obtained by the farmers in the course of investigation.

Hearing the case, the division bench of A.M. Dhavale and R.M. Borde has asked the Director-General of Police, Maharashtra to conduct an inquiry by the EOW and has also asked other banks to submit all details regarding the loans.

When contacted, Mr. Gutte said that the allegations are politically motivated. “Look at the nature of allegations, these are frivolous in nature. But I would not comment on it since the matter is sub-judice,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 4:21:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/not-in-our-name-farmers-tell-court-as-banks-disburse-loans-on-forged-documents/article19217527.ece

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