New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday searched locations in Maharashtra associated with Ratnakar Gutte, a leader of BJP ally Rashtriya Samaj Paksha (RSP), in a multi-crore loan fraud case, informed sources said. Also Read - BJP Tweets Old Video of Mamata Banerjee Reciting Islamic Prayer, Slams Bengal CM For Her Netaji Event Reaction
Ratnakar Gutte is the father of Vijay Gutte who directed the Bollywood movie “The Accidental Prime Minister” — based on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Also Read - Centre Committed to Fulfil Clauses of Bodo Accord; Only BJP Can Make Assam Free From Bullets, Agitation And Floods: Amit Shah
The agency raided the premises of Gutte, a sugar baron, in Mumbai, Parbhani, and Nagpur, the sources said. Also Read - Thousands of Maharashtra Farmers Reach Mumbai to Protest Agri Laws, to Hold Rally at Azad Maidan Today
The places searched include an educational institute in Mumbai and some offices and residential premises of the businessman-cum-politician.
Gutte’s RSP is an ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra.
The ED’s investigation is based on an FIR filed by the Maharashtra Police in connection with a multi-crore bank fraud case.
Ratnakar Gutte has been accused of getting loans from six banks on the basis of fake documents made in the name of farmers.
In July last year, the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court directed the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of Maharashtra Police to probe an alleged fraud in Parbhani district where crop loans worth Rs 328 crore from five nationalized and a private bank were taken in the names of thousands of farmers by allegedly forging the documents without their knowledge.
The six banks from which the loans were taken are Andhra Bank, UCO Bank, United Bank of India, Bank of India, Syndicate Bank and RBL Bank.
The loans were obtained in the names of sugarcane farmers who are members of Gangakhed Sugar and Energy Pvt Ltd, a factory owned by Ratnakar Gutte.
The agency believes that most farmers who were granted loans never existed, a few were dead and some were not even aware that they have been granted loans.
The scam came to light after one of the petitioners approached UCO Bank in Gangakhed for a crop loan and it was found that some loan amount had already been obtained and was outstanding against him, allegedly borrowed from Andhra Bank, Dharmapeth Branch in Nagpur.
Ratnakar Gutte had contested the 2014 Assembly elections in Maharashtra as a BJP ally but lost to the NCP.