ED attaches assets of Bengaluru-based cooperative banks

The Enforcement Directorate has attached assets worth โ‚น45.32 crore in connection with a fraud case involving top functionaries of Sri Guru Raghavendra Sahakara Bank Niyamitha and Sri Guru Sarvabhouma Credit Co-Operative Limited.

The accused persons collected funds through fixed deposits from depositors, most of whom were senior citizens, on the promise of returns at interest rates ranging from 12-16% per annum. It is alleged that over โ‚น1,500 crore was embezzled.

The attachment includes โ‚น7.16 crore in movable assets in the form of bank balances and fixed deposits belonging to the president, former vice-president, former and current chief executive officers of the bank and the co-operative society, and their associates.

Ownersโ€™ properties

Agricultural land, residential apartments and the houses held in the name of K. Ramakrishna, late T. S. Sathyanarayana, late M. V. Maiya, Santosh Kumar A and several employees of the two entities have also been attached.

โ€œK. Ramakrishna and late T. S. Sathyanarayana were president and vice-president of both the bodies. Sri Guru Sarvabhouma Credit Co-Operative Limited was established by Mr. Ramakrishna in 2015 to avoid paying the Tax Deduction at Source (TDS), which co-operative banks are required to pay under the Income Tax Act,โ€ said an agency official.

It is alleged that during 2016-19, funds were transferred from the society to the non-performing asset (NPA) accounts of the bank to reduce its the NPA parameter.

Fictitious accounts

The ED probe is based on an FIR registered at the Banaswadi police station in Bangalore City on February 7, alleging that funds were withdrawn from the bank by creating fictitious loan accounts. The depositors did not get back their money.

The fraudulently withdrawn money was also laundered in the name of several bank employees.

โ€œThe president and his family members are absconding and the bankโ€™s former chief executive officer has committed suicide,โ€ said the agency.

According to the ED, Mr. Ramakrishna (the president), his wife and son, who is a director of Mukhyaprana Agro Farming & Research Info Private Limited, laundered the proceeds of crime in the companyโ€™s name and that of Sri Guru Sarvabhouma Credit Co-Operative Limited, by diverting funds from the bank.

The former chief executive officer, late M.V. Maiya., had also bought properties from the diverted funds, as alleged.

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