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MSCB Scam: No relief for Ajit Pawar, Supreme Court orders police to complete probe

On August 22, the Bombay High Court ordered an FIR against NCP leader Ajit Pawar and 70 others to file an FIR in the Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank (MSCB) scam.

 

New Delhi| Ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly elections, Nationalist Congress Party leader and former deputy CM of the state Ajit Pawar has received a big setback. The Supreme Court has rejected his plea to end the investigation into the Maharashtra co-operative bank scam. Along with this, the top court has also asked the Maharashtra Police to conduct a fair investigation.

The Supreme Court while hearing the case said that investigation cannot be stopped under these circumstances. The Supreme Court has also upheld the order of the High Court to register an FIR. On August 22, the Bombay High Court ordered an FIR against NCP leader Ajit Pawar and 70 others to file an FIR in the Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank (MSCB) scam.

What was Maharashtra Co-operative Bank Scam?
Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank is the apex bank of all the co-operative banks in Maharashtra. The bank was in loss for many years. The loss was to the tune of billions and it was unable to recover it. However, it all came out after the NABARD report.
NABARD had claimed that the bank has come under scrutiny due to huge irregularities in debt collection and many other irregularities in the lending process. The Reserve Bank of India went a step further and pointed fingers directly towards the board of directors and this created a massive uproar in the state politics.
The Board of Director of the state cooperative bank consisted of a top and powerful politicians from Maharashtra. Most of them were from Ruling NCP and the Congress. but others were also on the board.
Manikrao Patil was the chairman of the bank, while Ajit Pawar, Vijay Singh Mohite-Patil, Anandrao Adasul, Shivajirao Nalavade, Hassan Mushrif were among the directors.
The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) conducted a high-level probe into the loans given by the bank between 2005 and 2011. The annual inspector report of Nabard charged the bank with fiscal and administrative irregularities, including misuse of power and dodgy accounts. NABARD report said that in this period loans were given to the close aides of these politicians. Many of whom did not even fulfil the criteria.
There were massive irregularities in loan recovery and thus the bank was incurring losses. The bank’s net loss in 2010 was Rs 775.98 crore, with bad loans totalling Rs 500 crore. In 2011, the then Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had dismissed the state co-operative bank’s board of directors and appointed administrators.
There was an inquiry committee set up to investigate the matter. But for years, the case was dragged and nothing fruitful was coming out of it. It was RTI activist Surinder Arora because of whom the entire matter came in the limelight again.
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