Politicians panic as Mumbai Police file FIR in MSCB scam
Mumbai, Aug 26 (IANS) Adhering to Bombay High Court's August 22 orders, the Mumbai Police on Monday lodged an FIR in the Rs 1,000 crore plus scam in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank, triggering panic among political bigwigs across the state's political spectrum.
The move also resulted in widespread speculation over who are the prominent political personalities named in the FIR, though Nationalist Congress Party's ex-Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Congress' Leader of Opposition Vijay Wadettivar are among the respondents in a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by activist Surinder M. Arora.
The FIR was registered at the MRA Marg Police Station in south Mumbai and the matter will now be further investigated by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW).
Last week, 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 and directed the EOW to initiate proceedings, invoking the relevant provisions of the law.
The FIR has been lodged against various big politicians from different parties and former directors of the MSCB, which include Ajit Pawar and his uncle, NCP President Sharad Pawar, ex-directors of around 30 district cooperative banks, NABARD and other bank and government officials.
Among other things, they have been charged with offences punishable under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Prevention of Corruption Act and Securitisation Act.
Besides the Pawar duo, 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, sending shock-waves in the state political circles ahead of the Assembly elections scheduled later this year.
They were accused of causing losses to the tune of around Rs 1,000 crore to the state's apex cooperative bank between 2007 and 2011.
Earlier, a quasi-judicial probe panel under the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act had blamed the Pawars and the other accused in the matter.
The NABARD had also inspected and audited the MSCB, revealing flouting of various banking and Reserve Bank of India norms while distributing loans to sugar factories and spinning mills, the subsequent defaults on repayments and recoveries of the dues.
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.