MSC Bank Fraud: Original informant says no grievance against judge; contradicts Anna Hazare, others

“I say that I have no grievance of any nature whatsoever against the special judge..” original informant Surinder Arora in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) scam case has said in an application filed on Thursday before the principal judge of the sessions court, contrary to apprehensions of bias by the presiding judge expressed by four protest petitioners including social worker Anna Hazare.

The first plea for transfer of his protest petition from the current court hearing it was made by former MLA Manik Jadhav. The protest petitions are filed against the closure report filed by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) in the MSCB scam case which gives a clean chit to many politicians including deputy CM Ajit Pawar. Arora had sought to intervene in the transfer plea of Jadhav, stating that his rights will be affected as he is the original complainant and his protest petition too is being heard by the same court. Thereafter, three other protest petitioners - including social worker Anna Hazare and former MP Shalinitai Patil had filed transfer pleas on the same lines as Jadhav seeking change of court.

On Thursday, Arora, 62, filed an intervention application before the principal judge stating that he has no grievance with the current judge conducting the matter. He added that owing to his age and health he wants his protest petition before that court to be decided expeditiously. He said the decision in this transfer plea of Jadhav will have a direct bearing on his protest petition that is pending before the other court. His application said further he has already filed his final written arguments in the matter before the other court and recused his advocate as he was not following his instructions.

It was this final written argument filed on 20 April through two persons who were not Arora’s advocates, that had led to the present transfer plea by Jadhav. The former MLA had called the judge’s conduct ‘suspicious’ in accepting the arguments on record when the same was objected to by Arora’s then advocate Satish Talekar.

Jadhav had also sought a stay on the proceedings in that court before the principal judge. Responding to this, the EOW in its reply filed on Thursday stated that the transfer application is frivolous and filed with misconception and prejudice against the present judge. It springs from illwill developed by Jadhav as a consequence of the relations between Arora and advocate Talekar.

Jadhav in a reply to Arora’s intervention stated that it seems that he has forgotten his role and is acting contrary to the interests of justice. The court on Thursday allowed Arora’s intervention in the transfer plea stating that he is the original complainant in the case and has also filed a protest petition before the other court. It said that he has the right to put forth his grievance if any of the transfer application.

The EOW closure report had given a clean chit to the accused stating that its probe did not reveal any irregularities in the loan transactions. Accused in the case are several political leaders cutting across party lines who held positions as directors in district co-operative banks. These banks allegedly gave illegal loans to sugar factories and then sold the latter to their own kith and kin at throw-away prices when they were unable to repay the loans, thus causing loss of Rs. 25,000 crores to the banks. It was on Arora’s PIL that the Bombay HC had in 2019 directed to register an FIR in the case.

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