Ajitdada to face  inquiry in State  co-op bank scam

Mumbai : Former Deputy Chief Minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar might have to face inquiry in the Rs 1500 crore scam in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB). Pawar may have to appear in front of the inquiry commission on May 21, sources have said.

The Maharashtra State Cooperative Department had issued a notice to Pawar and 42 others for alleged irregularities in the bank in December. Notice had been issued for “fixing accountability in connection with irregularities and financial losses” amounting to a total of Rs 1595 crore that was suffered by the MSCB during three financial years 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2010-11.

Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan too, during his tenure, had given orders to inquire into role of 65 directors of the bank in the scam.

The board of directors, headed by the NCP’s Manikrao Patil, was disbanded after the RBI rapped the bank for high negative net worth in 2012.

Earlier, a report by the State Cooperative Commissioner Dinesh Aaulkar had submitted a report to the government alleging that the decisions of the MSCB’s erstwhile board of directors were responsible for the irregularities and financial losses suffered by the State’s apex cooperative bank.

The Congress had cornered Pawar over the issue. The opposition too had demanded Pawar’s resignation over the issue. But, then once an inquiry commission was appointed, the issue had gone into cold storage. Now, with the BJP in power, the issue appears to be gaining momentum again.

The board of directors has said to have set aside directives from NABARD in releasing loans to sugar mills and several other cooperatives. They also said to have failed to recover large loans. According to sources, the erstwhile directors, if found guilty, could be barred from participating in cooperative elections for six years.

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