The much-awaited trigger for making homes affordable for end users is here. The government’s decision to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes is expected to hit the real estate sector hardest. (Photo: Reuters)

Bank Of Maharashtra Chairman Among Six Held In DSK Group Loan Fraud Case

The Economic Offences Wing of Pune police today arrested six persons, including the serving and a former CMD of the Bank of Maharashtra in a cheating case lodged against city-based real estate developer DS Kulkarni and his wife, an official said today.

The bank’s present Chairman and Managing Director Ravindra Marathe, Executive Director Rajendra Gupta, Zonal Manager Nityanand Deshpande, bank’s former CMD Sushil Muhnot, Kulkarni’s CA Sunil Ghatpande, and Vice President Rajiv Newaskar of the engineering department of Kulkarni’s firm, DS Kulkarni Developers Ltd., were arrested, the official added.

While Deshpande was arrested from Ahmedabad, Muhnot was picked up from Jaipur. All others were arrested from Pune, the police said.

They were booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

“As part of our probe into the cheating case against Kulkarni, it came to light that these bank officials colluded with DSKDL by misusing their powers and authority with dishonest and fraudulent intention to sanction and disburse the amount under the garb of a loan,” said Sudhir Hiremath, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber and Economic Offences).

All the accused are being produced in the court today, he said.

In May, the city police had filed a 37,000-page charge sheet against Kulkarni and his wife in the case.

As per the charge sheet, the total scam is worth Rs 2,043.18 crore wherein the accused floated nine different firms to siphon off the funds collected from 33,000 investors and fixed-deposit holders who were promised good returns on their fixed deposits.

Of the total scam amount, the deposit and loan fraud is to the tune of Rs 1,083.7 crore, banking and non-financial institutions-related fraud of Rs 711.36 crore, debentures fraud of Rs 111.35 crore and fraud related to Phursungi land purchase of Rs 136.77 crore, the EOW officials had said.

The police were probing the role of these bank officials for allegedly sanctioning loans to the builder without following due diligence. According to the complaint filed with the EOW by one of the depositors, investors put in lakhs of rupees in a fixed-deposit scheme of the DSK Developers, but they neither received the interest nor the principal amount.

Bank of Maharashtra said in a statement that the lender’s “total outstanding exposure to M/s DS Kulkarni Developers Ltd. is to the tune of Rs 94.52 crore which is fully secured by primary and collateral securities. Recovery process like SARFAESI action has already been initiated by the Bank and some of the properties are due for auction.” The bank has also declared DSK Developers and its promoters as wilful defaulters, the statement added.

The EoW had booked the Kulkarnis under various sections of the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID) Act along with IPC sections 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 34 (common intention).

The developer and his wife were arrested from Delhi on Feb. 17 this year by Pune police.

With today's arrest, the total number of arrests in the case has gone up to 12.

Kulkarni's son Shirish's pre-arrest bail application was rejected by the Supreme Court on June 19 and he is likely to be arrested in the case, the police said.

(This article has been modified to include the Bank of Maharashtra statement.)