J&K Bank scam: ED raids residence of ex-J&K Finance Minister’s son, Hilal Rather

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday conducted raids at 16 locations in Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Ludhiana in connection with the J&K Bank scam.

According to information, raids are also being conducted at the residence of former J&K Finance Minister Rahim Rather’s son Hilal in connection with the case.

The central probe agency has filed a money laundering case against Hilal Rather and others, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), taking cognisance of a CBI FIR and Income Tax Department probe against him and pertains to a Rs 177-crore alleged bank fraud scam.

The raids are aimed to gather more evidence, the agency said.

The CBI has alleged that Hilal Rather entered into a criminal conspiracy with the then officials of the J&K Bank to get loans of Rs 177.68 crore (approx) in violation of rules and guidelines.

His father, a former finance minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, is a National Conference (NC) leader.

The Income Tax Department had last year conducted search and seizure operations on properties of Hilal Rather covering 4 premises in the Kashmir Valley and 6 places in the Jammu region.

Hilal Rather is under the scanner of central agencies for concealing his income and indulging in illegal activities. The Hilal Rather Business group is engaged in real estate and information technology. The Hilal Rather-led business group is accused of large-scale diversion and misappropriation of loan taken from J&K Bank by the group.

During the search, Income Tax detected that the Hilal has been given the illegal benefits of Rs 60 crore by Jammu and Kashmir Bank. His outstanding loan of Rs 190 crore was settled at Rs 130 crore, although he did not deserve any concessional treatment.

During the search operation, Income Tax sleuths found the evidence that the Hilal Rather was a director in a Dubai based company. He is also holding and operating a foreign bank account. Neither his interest in the Dubai Company nor the foreign bank account has ever been disclosed by him in his tax returns.

He is now facing action under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015.

Field enquires have also revealed that the Hilal has sold/booked part of his real estate project of Paradise Avenue near Jammu against unaccounted cash. The cash component has neither been disclosed in tax returns by purchasers of the flats of Paradise Avenue nor has he disclosed these receipts in his books of accounts.

Other than the Paradise Avenue project, the tax evader has also undertaken real estate transactions in his personal capacity or in the name of family members wherein allegedly more than Rs 7 crore of unaccounted cash has changed hands.

During the demonetisation period, the group had made cash deposits of Rs. 1.44 crore. Hilal Rather could not explain the source of these cash deposits during the course of search action.