The Bombay High Court on Thursday instructed the Mumbai Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) to lodge a First Information Report (FIR) against NCP leader Ajit Pawar and 70 others in Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) scam.
The court observed that “prima facie” there was credible evidence against the accused. The accused allegedly were involved in causing losses worth Rs 1,000 crore to MSCB from the period 2007 to 2011. A bench comprising of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and S C Shinde ordered the EOW to file an FIR against the offenders in next 5 days.
Alongside former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, NCP leader Jayant Patil is also named in the list of economic offenders and several senior cooperative bank officials.
Scrutiny carried out by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), and a charge sheet filed by a quasi-judicial enquiry commission under the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies (MCS) Act held Pawar and other accused, including several directors of the bank responsible for the loss. It stated that because of their decisions, actions and inactions, massive losses were incurred to the bank.
An audit report by NABARD revealed flagrant violations of several banking laws and RBI norms by the accused in the allotment of loans to sugar factories and spinning mills and the ensuing default on repayment and recovery of such loans. During that time, Ajit Pawar was the director of the bank. However, despite damning scrutiny reports, no FIR was lodged. It was only after a local activist, Sunil Arora filed a complaint with the EOW in 2015 and went to the high court that the police took cognisance of the underlying scam.