ED attaches assets of cooperative sugar factories

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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday attached assets of cooperative sugar factories, including 90 acres of land belonging to erstwhile Ram Ganesh Gadkari SSK held in the name of Takshshila Securities Pvt Ltd and two pieces of non-agricultural land measuring 4.6 acres belonging to Prajakt Tanpure (worth Rs 7.6 crore) in connection with a PMLA case.

The ED had initiated the investigation based on an FIR lodged by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police in 2019.

The FIR was lodged in pursuance of a Bombay High Court order on allegations that the cooperative sugar factories known as Sahkari Sakhar Karkhana (SSK) were fraudulently sold by the then officials and directors of Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) at throwaway prices to related entities without following the due procedure.

The EOW had filed a closure report before the competent court. The matter is still pending before the court.

The ED learnt during the investigation that MSCB undertook auction of Ram Ganesh Gadkari SSK in 2007 at undervalued price and without following due process. The said SSK was sold to Prasad Sugar and Allied Agro Products Ltd, a firm belonging to Prajakt Tanpure for Rs 12.95 crore against the reserve price of Rs 26.32 crore.

“Investigation also revealed that even though Prasad Sugar was the sole bidder, in order to project the bid process as competitive, signature of a ‘second bidder’ was taken by MSCB officials on the bid documents. This second bidder did not deposit the required EMD amount. It was found to be a proxy of Prasad Sugar,” said an ED official.

Though the auction was conducted in 2007, Prasad Sugar completed payment of sale amount only in 2010 against the statutory condition of completing payment within a period of 52 days.

Money trail investigation revealed that the funds utilised by Prasad Sugar for payment was majorly received from other parties without any rationale.

It was learnt that part of the funds to purchase SSK also came from Ranjit Deshmukh, former Chairman of Ram Ganesh Gadkari SSK.

Prasad Sugar is a family held entity of Prasad Tanpure, who was one of the prominent and influential members on the board of directors of MSCB between 2004 and 2010.

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