The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday attached properties worth about Rs 19.67 crore belonging to a builder and three former bank officials in connection with a loan fraud of Rs 18.79 crore which was allegedly committed by the accused in Bhubaneswar in 2017.
Last year, ED had initiated an investigation on the basis of three FIRs registered by the CBI in Bhubaneswar against builder Uma Shankar Patro, three former officers of a nationalised bank – identified as Bhubaneswar Mohapatra, Ashwini Patra and Rajesh Patanga — and some other private persons on July 1, 2019 for allegedly availing several housing loans from the bank’s Nayapalli branch in 2017 and misappropriating Rs 18.79 crore.
On May 18 this year, the ED carried out search operations at eight residential and commercial premises of Patro and other accused persons and seized around Rs 15 lakh, gold jewellery valued at around Rs 1.3 crore, certain incriminating documents and electronic devices were seized.
“We have provisionally attached the total assets worth Rs 19.67 crore under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. The attached properties include movable assets in form of bank balances and mutual fund balances worth Rs 9,49,657 and 57 immovable assets (land and buildings) to the tune of Rs 19,57,73,370 spread across Puri and Bhubaneswar,” an ED sources said.
According to ED, the accused former bank officials allegedly conspired with Patro, other builders and borrowers, and sanctioned housing loans by accepting forged documents and violating norms of the bank.
Patro, along with his family members, allegedly misappropriated the public money and diverted the loan amount to their personal accounts. They did not execute any housing projects, ED sources said.
In July this year, the CBI raided the properties of a jewellery store owned by Patro’s family members in Cuttack Road area here in connection with another bank loan scam worth nearly Rs 7 crore.
A nationalized bank had lodged a complaint with the CBI accusing Patro and his family members of taking Rs 6 crore loan from the bank’s Old Station Bazar branch in 2013 by furnishing forged documents. The loan account turned NPA in February 2020.