New Delhi, Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday said it has arrested former Maharashtra MLA Vivekanand Shankar Patil under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in a case linked to an alleged fraud of over Rs 512 crore in a Panvel-based cooperative bank.

Officials in the Directorate said Patil, 66, was arrested around on Tuesday late evening after his questioning at the ED office in Mumbai.

The former MLA from the Peasants and Workers Party was arrested under various sections of the PMLA and was produced before Ld. PMLA Special Court today which granted ED Custody till 25th of June for further questioning.

ED initiated probe on an FIR registered against Patil and about 75 others in February last year by the economic offences wing (EOW) of the Navi Mumbai police that alleged irregularities to the tune of Rs 512.54 crore in the Karnala Nagari Sahakari (cooperative) Bank that is headquartered in Panvel in the neighbouring Raigad district.

The fraud came to light after an audit was done at the instance of Reserve Bank of India in the year 2019-20. Audit revealed that Vivekanand Patil was siphoning off funds since 2008 from the bank through 63 fictitious loan accounts to the loan accounts of Karnala Charitable Trust and Karnala Sports Academy, which were founded by him.

It was found that management of the bank was under control of Vivekanand Patil. In order to siphon the funds, Vivekanand Patil used some old accounts of Bank and get renewed these accounts and large amounts were transferred from these accounts to the said trust accounts.

“No collateral securities were taken against such loans and no correspondence was made with revenue authorities regarding payment of stamp duty for the purpose of purchasing immovable properties for which loans were obtained, thereby making the loans unsafe/unsecured”, the officials in the probe agency said.

Following that, the local Police had named Patil, the former chairman of the cooperative bank, who represented the Panvel assembly constituency in the past, as an accused along with the vice-chairman, chief executive officer and several others, who had obtained loans from the institution.

The irregularities were revealed after an inspection of the bank’s operations by the Reserve Bank of India, which led to a special audit of the lender’s 17 branches, they added.

The RBI had later restricted withdrawals at Rs 500 per depositor across all accounts, the ED said, adding that the further investigation in this case has been under progress.

(Agencies)