Lodge FIR against Pawars, 70 others in 1,000 crore MSCB bank scam: Bombay HC to Mumbai Police

Lodge FIR against Pawars, 70 others in 1,000 crore MSCB bank scam: Bombay HC to Mumbai Police
The court ordered an FIR against several senior NCP leaders & other officials who have been accused of causing losses of around Rs 1,000 crore to Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank between 2007-2011 (Inset: Ajit Pawar)

The Bombay High Court on Thursday directed Mumbai Police to lodge an FIR within five days against NCP President Sharad Pawar, ex-Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and at least 70 others in the Rs 1,000 crore Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) scam.

A division bench of Justice S.C. Dharmadhikari and Justice S.K. Shinde noted that there was prima facie credible evidence and directed the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police to initiate the proceedings under relevant provisions of the law.

Apart from the Pawar duo and NCP state President Jayant Patil, several other politicians, government and bank officials have been named in a PIL filed by a Mumbai-based activist Surinder M. Arora.

The accused reportedly caused losses to the tune of around Rs 1,000 crore to the state’s apex cooperative bank between 2007-2011

During the period, the bank was managed by the board of directors consisting of 48 members, most of whom were MLAs and MPs of the ruling party – including NCP leaders Ajit Pawar, Vijaysingh Mohite-Patil and Anand Adsul.

Earlier, a quasi-judicial probe panel under the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act had blamed Pawars and the other accused in the matter.

Even National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD) carried out an independent inspection and audit in 2009-10, which revealed a breach of several banking laws and RBI guidelines by the accused.

The violations were found in the distribution of loans to sugar factories and spinning mills, and the subsequent default on repayment and recovery of such loans.

Later, in May 2011, the RBI directed to supersede the MSCB board of directors and appointed an administrator to look after the bank’s affairs.

However, despite the probe reports and complaints lodged by Arora, no action or FIR was filed in the matter after which he filed a PIL in the high court in 2015.

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