BJP welcomes MNS man they accused of corruption into party

Three months after it accused him of corruption, the BJP will induct Pravin Darekar from Maharashtra Navnirman Sena today; two other former MNS legislators, Ramesh Patil and Vasant Gite, will also follow suit

Three months after it accused him of corruption, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will take Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s former city legislator Pravin Darekar into its fold today.

Two other ex-MLAs from the MNS, Ramesh Patil (Kalyan Rural) and Vasant Gite (Nashik), will also join the BJP today. The Raj Thackeray-led party is expected to face big trouble because of the exit of three locally influential leaders, who lost the recent Assembly polls.

Pravin Darekar, a former MLA from Magathane, is the chairman of the Mumbai District Central Cooperative Bank
Pravin Darekar, a former MLA from Magathane, is the chairman of the Mumbai District Central Cooperative Bank

BJP leader Vinod Tawde (then opposition leader in the state legislative council and now education minister) had accused Darekar of corruption and causing huge financial losses to the Mumbai District Central Cooperative Bank, one of the most successful cooperative units in the state, of which Darekar is chairman (see box). Earlier, the Shiv Sena had asked then Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to dissolve the board of directors of the bank.

Ramesh Patil, ex MLA from Kalyan Rural, and Vasant Gite (left), from Nashik, will also be inducted into the BJP today. File pics
Ramesh Patil, ex MLA from Kalyan Rural, and Vasant Gite (left), from Nashik, will also be inducted into the BJP today. File pics

Jumping ship
The three leaders, who were part of the party’s successful pack in the last state Assembly elections, developed serious differences with the MNS chief after losing the October polls. Once a trusted man of Thackeray, Darekar represented the Magathane constituency, Patil represented Kalyan Rural and Gite had won elections from Nashik in 2009. All three had followed Thackeray from Shiv Sena.

Confirming the development, Darekar told mid-day, “My case is clear and allegations made against me were false. The BJP leadership is convinced and, hence, they are inducting me.” He further said that a probe was done and the bank had submitted its reply to the government recently.

“The government is satisfied with our reply and cleared us of all allegations,” he said, adding that BJP’s senior leader Nitin Gadkari, too, has given him a clean chit. Earlier, the BJP was accused of inducting NCP leaders like Vijaykumar Gavit and Babanrao Pachpute, who had faced allegations from their leaders in the legislature.

The party will benefit from Darekar’s presence in the 2017 civil polls. Patil and Gite, too, are expected to boost its prospects in local self-government elections in Kalyan and Nashik. Sources in the BJP said many other disgruntled MNS leaders were in touch with the party high command, which is expected to induct them in phases.

Foes turn friends
In the run-up to the October Assembly polls, the then Opposition leader in the legislative council, Vinod Tawde, had alleged that the board of the Mumbai District Central Cooperative Bank had appointed directors and employees illegally, causing losses to the tune of Rs 412 crore-Rs 172 crore in selling bank shares, Rs 129 crore in giving loans, and Rs 259 crore in illegally investing the bank’s deposits in the Madhya Pradesh Industrial Development Corporation.

Tawde had said that though a cooperation department officer, Subhash Patil, had recommended criminal action against the bank’s directors and officials responsible, the Congress-NCP government had not taken any steps. Darekar had then accused the BJP of seeking revenge because his bank had filed police complaints against some BJP leaders, who did not service loans. He had said that he had refused Tawde’s request for helping the defaulters from the BJP.

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