`Suspicious’ transactions in JK Bank; ED conducts searches in Kashmir

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New Delhi, November 21: The Enforcement Directorate on Saturday conducted searches at over half a dozen places in Anantnag and Srinagar districts of Kashmir in connection with its ongoing investigations in respect to suspicious transactions in Jammu and Kashmir Bank under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).

Pointing out that searches were conducted on the basis of specific information in the premises of Mohammad Ibrahim Dar,  Murtaza Enterprises, Azad Agro Traders, M&M Cottage Industries and Mohammad Sultan Teli, sources said the search parties found evidence of money laundering as the bank accounts have been found to be used for routing suspicious transactions.

The parties covered under searches are involved in hospitality and agro-based industries, civil construction and real estate. Statement of persons covered in the searches are being recorded to unravel the source of huge credits and debits in their accounts, they  said, adding that the seized documents and soft data are also being analysed.

The ED initiated the investigation in the case under PMLA after the Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Investigation Department (CID) registered an FIR against the officials of J&K Bank, some unidentified public servants, a few private persons and others for suspicious transactions in various bank accounts.

It has been alleged in the FIR that the bank accounts were used for routing money of public servants as well as some private parties, the ED said. “Further, bank officials, in connivance with these public servants, deliberately omitted to raise the alerts as required under Anti-Money Laundering (AML) norms,” it added.

Investigations conducted under the PMLA so far have revealed that the transactions in many of these bank accounts maintained with J&K Bank were not genuine and these accounts were utilised for the purpose of laundering, sources said, adding that further investigations are under progress.