Mumbai Police files FIR against NCP’s Ajit Pawar, 75 others in 1,000 crore MSCB bank scam

Mumbai Police files FIR against NCP's Ajit Pawar, 75 others in 1,000 crore MSCB bank scam
Several politicians, former directors of the MSCB, ex-directors of around 30 district cooperative banks, NABARD and other bank & government officials have been named in the FIR (Picture Courtesy: glbnews.com)

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police on Monday registered an FIR against NCP leader Ajit Pawar and 75 others in connection with the Rs 1,000 crore Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) scam.

The FIR was registered in accordance with the Bombay High Court order on August 22, during which a division bench comprising Justice S.C. Dharmadhikari and Justice S.K. Shinde had held that there was credible prima facie evidence in the case.

The court passed the order after hearing the PIL filed by activist Surinder M. Arora, accusing several politicians, government and bank officials of causing losses of around Rs 1,000 crore to the state’s apex cooperative bank between 2007 and 2011.

The court directed the EOW to initiate proceedings, invoking the relevant provisions of the law. Adhering to the order, an FIR was registered at the MRA Marg Police Station in south Mumbai for further investigation by the EOW.

The FIR has been lodged against various big politicians from different parties and former directors of the MSCB, which include Ajit Pawar, ex-directors of around 30 district cooperative banks, NABARD and other bank and government officials.

Among others, they have been charged with offences punishable under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Prevention of Corruption Act and Securitisation Act.

Besides Pawar, the names of NCP state President Jayant Patil, former Deputy Chief Minister Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, Shiv Sena’s Anandrao V. Adsul, and others figure in Arora’s PIL.

While NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s name also features in the PIL, he has not been named in the FIR as of now. Arora’s lawyer has claimed that Pawar senior, who was the Union Agriculture Minister at the time, also had a role to play in the scam.

Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule, meanwhile, has refuted the allegations and claimed that the government is playing vendetta politics by linking her father’s name to the scam.

The inclusion of several prominent names has sent shock-waves in the state’s political circles ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections.

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.

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

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