MSC fraud: After former MLA, now Anna Hazare, two other protest petitioners want change of court, stay on proceedings

Mumbai, May 10: After former MLA Manik Jadhav last month filed a transfer application for change of court for hearing of his protest petition against the closure report filed by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) in the Rs 25,000 crore scam, three other protest petitioners - among them social worker Anna Hazare and former MP Shalinitai Patil, have also now sought a transfer of proceedings from the court. The original informant in the case, Surinder Arora, on the other hand, wants the matter to proceed before the current court.

All the protest petitioners have also filed applications seeking that the proceedings before the current court be stayed.

Jadhav had claimed that the current judge is ‘biased’ and favouring the prosecution. In his plea for change of court filed on Monday, social worker Anna Hazare, who had also filed a PIL in the matter once, has repeated the allegations and said that he has genuine fear that a free, fair, and impartial hearing would not be available to him before the present judge. He stated in his application that Arora is objecting to the transfer plea filed by Jadhav ‘so as to suit the interest of the accused as well as of the prosecution’. Hazare also mentioned in his application about a Pendrive containing a conversation between Arora and another person which shows Arora is ‘hobnobbing’ with the judge. “I am therefore given to understand that Shri. Surinder Arora is won over by the accused as well as the prosecution whereas the Ld. Judge (ACB) is encouraging him to get the proceedings disposed of...” the plea said.

Former MP Shalinitai Patil in her transfer plea has said that Arora was never a member or Chairman of sugar factories and has no concern with the the cooperative movement and was agitating for her cause and that of other sugar factories. She mentioned that she had been to meet the Governor along with Arora regarding transferring the probe to an impartial agency and was surprised when Arora casually asked the Governor the status of his nomination.

She said that when the closure report was filed, though Arora told her he will be filing a protest petition, but that she preferred to file one on her own as she doubted his intentions.

Patil further mentions that she had learnt from Jadhav that Arora had a conversation in which he told advocate Ayyappan that it was at the behest of the judge he had filed written arguments and further that Arora had a video-conference with the judge in which the judge had expressed displeasure against the time sought by his advocates to go through probe documents.

Jadhav, she said, informed her that he had a record of this conversation.

Accused in the MSCB case are several political leaders cutting across party lines who held positions as directors in district co-operative banks. Among the accused are deputy CM Ajit Pawar and Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) leader Jayant Patil.

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 to the bank. 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.

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