Maha co-op bank scam: FIR filed against NCP leader
Ajit Pawar and 70 other beneficiaries were booked under charges of cheating and forgery
Mumbai Police registered an FIR against senior NCP leader and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and 70 former functionaries in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) scam case on Monday, on charges of cheating and forgery. This action comes days after the Bombay High Court directed the police to file an offence.
Ajit Pawar served as deputy chief minister from November 10, 2010 to September 26, 2014. Other accused reportedly include Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) leader Jayant Patil and the then directors and senior officials from the superseded bank's units in 34 districts in the state, an official said. "We have registered an offence at MRA Marg police station based on the complaint of Economic Offences Wing," an official informed PTI.
They have been booked under sections 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 409 (Criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent), 406 (Punishment for criminal breach of trust), 465 (Punishment for forgery), 467 (Forgery of valuable security, will, etc) and 120 (B) (Punishment of criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
According to the FIR, the state exchequer allegedly suffered losses to the tune of Rs 25,000 crore due to the MSCB scam between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2017. "The offence has been registered against the then chief ministers, deputy chief ministers, ministers, politicians, government officials, the then directors and senior officials of the MSCB, district central bank, and directors of the Pen Cooperative Bank," the FIR stated.
On August 22, a bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and S K Shinde of the High Court told PTI that there was "credible evidence" against the accused in the case and directed the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) to register an FIR within five days. The accused were allegedly complicit in causing losses to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore to MSCB between 2007 and 2011.
An inspection by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) as well as a charge sheet filed by a quasi-judicial inquiry commission under the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies (MCS) Act blamed the "decisions, actions and inactions" of the NCP leader and the other accused for the loss.
According to PTI, the NABARD audit report revealed breach of several banking laws and RBI guidelines by the accused in distribution of loans to sugar factories and spinning mills, and subsequent default on repayment and recovery of such loans. A complaint was filed by activist Surinder Arora with the EOW in 2015 and approached the high court, seeking that an FIR be registered.
In view of the deficiencies pointed out by NABARD, the RBI had directed to supersede the MSCB board of directors and appoint an administrator to look after its affairs in May 2011. The High Court had last week held that prima facie, NABARD's inspection report, the complaint, and the charge sheet under the MCS Act showed there existed "credible evidence" against the accused in the case, the PTI report mentioned.
With inputs from PTI
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