Loan fraud: ED arrests man who ‘defrauded’ Pune co-op bank of over Rs 60 cr

New Delhi, Jun 20 (PTI) The ED on Tuesday said it has made another arrest as part of its ongoing money laundering investigation in a case linked to alleged fraud and misappropriation of public funds worth Rs 429 crore.

The accused, Sagar Maruti Suryawanshi, was taken into custody on June 15 under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the Pune-based Seva Vikas Co-operative Bank fraud case probe.

A special PMLA court has sent him to Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody till June 26.

“Sagar Suryawanshi and his relatives were found to have defrauded the bank to the tune of Rs 60.67 crore in 10 NPA (non-performing assets) loan accounts. He obtained loans in connivance with Amar Mulchandani (former chairman of the bank) and without having sufficient creditworthiness and repaying capacity,” the agency said in a statement.

The Maharashtra Police had arrested Mulchandani and five of his family members for “obstructing” an ED raid conducted against the former bank chairman on January 27 and for alleged “destruction of evidence”.

The money laundering probe against Mulchandani and others stems from multiple FIRs registered by the Pune police on the basis of complaints of the bank and an audit conducted by the Registrar of Cooperative Societies which pointed to “large-scale” fraud and misappropriation of public funds causing a loss of Rs 429 crore to the Seva Vikas Co-operative Bank and thereby “causing loss to thousands of small depositors”.

The bank was “being run like a family proprietorship by Amar Mulchandani without following any prudent banking norms and favoured loans were sanctioned in return of massive kickbacks”, the ED claimed.

According to the agency, more than 92 per cent of the loan accounts had turned into NPAs, which ultimately led to the collapse of the bank and the RBI later cancelling its license.

In March, the ED had arrested two of its staffers working on contract at its Mumbai office and a “close associate” of Mulchandani for allegedly sharing “sensitive” information of this investigation in exchange for a bribe.

Assets worth Rs 122.35 crore have been provisionally attached in this case till now, the agency said.