The Enforcement Directorate (ED), in its probe into a bank fraud in which the manager of a Bank of Baroda branch in Bengaluru was the prime accused, has now implicated S K Subramanya Reddy, chairman of the Shri Gokulam Educational Trust. The ED has attached to the case five immovable properties in Bengaluru, worth Rs 4.83 crore, belonging to Reddy. The ED began its probe into the case in 2019, when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CID) filed a first information report (FIR) against T L Praveen Kumar, the then Branch Manager of Bank of Baroda, Kengeri branch.
Between December 2017 and July 2018, Kumar, in collusion with Reddy and others, had reportedly sanctioned 186 gold loans, amounting to more than Rs 12.5 lakh, against spurious gold ornaments. The loan benefitted 57 borrowers and caused a loss of up to Rs 10.68 crore. All the borrowers were reportedly associated with Reddy.
The ED's money laundering investigation has revealed that Reddy used the loan money to settle his outstanding loans and overdraft facilities at Syndicate Bank. The agency said that Reddy would get his mortgaged properties released, subsequently buy another property and pay EMIs over his other mortgaged properties. By doing so, Reddy would project these properties as untainted.
Accordingly, identified assets worth close to Rs 4.83 crore in the form of immovable properties have been provisionally attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
The CBIâ€™s FIR was based on a complaint filed by Lalit Tyagi, deputy general manager of Bank of Baroda. In sanctioning the loans, the FIR stated that Kumar "exceeded and violated his discretionary lending power of Rs 10 lakh in as many as 44 accounts".
Kumar is also accused of forging the signatures of the bank's approved appraiser and joint custodian on the loan documents. The signatures are essential for sanctioning loans. He "abused his official position and sanctioned 186 gold loans against spurious gold ornaments with mala fide intention" and caused a loss of close to Rs 10.68 crore to the bank for personal gain, the FIR added.