Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar heaved a sigh of relief after he and 75 others got a clean chit in the alleged Rs 25,000 crore Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) scam. In his first reaction, Pawar said, “If there is truth in the allegations, then action will be taken.” Pawar completely denied charges levelled in the complaint against him and others about their alleged involvement in the scam. “Whatever has happened, has happened. No point in raking up the charges again and again,” noted Pawar.
The committee headed by retired district judge Panditrao Jadhav in its report, recently submitted to the Cooperation Department, gave a clean chit. It came days before the commencement of a budget session of the state legislature from March 1. The opposition had planned to target Pawar on the issue and the pending inquiry into the similar scam by the Enforcement Directorate. However, the committee report has come handy for Pawar to defend himself in the legislature.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and Minister of Rural Development Hassan Mushrif, who also received a clean chit, alleged that it was a ploy hatched by state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) unit chief Chandrakant Patil, during his tenure as revenue minister in the BJP-led government, to trap him in the case, but it has now been foiled. “I had not attended the meeting of MSCB. But my name was roped in for an inquiry,” he added.
As reported by the Free Press Journal, Pawar and others were on the board of directors of MSCB. The board was subsequently dissolved in 2011 after a probe by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) found the bank was in red with a negative of Rs 144 crore. The NABARD report indicated financial mismanagement on part of the board of directors, which led to the ballooning of non-performing assets. It was due to handing out loans to sugar co-operatives and spinning mills in violation of all norms.