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Co-op leaders, politicos maintain silence

india Updated: Jun 19, 2006 12:04 IST

EVEN AS beleaguered depositors run from pillar to post to get their money back, state cooperative movement leaders and politicians who have been ministers in State and Union Cabinet from Indore have maintained silence over exploitation of small investors who have lost their deposits in cooperative bodies where their chairmen, Board of Directors (BoD) minted money and made good their escape.

In fact there has been no political reaction from them to support the cause of small depositors. The primary reason could be that Congress and BJP politicians control most of these bodies here.

Organisations like RSS that stand for justice to poor are not way behind. Some of their activists, leaders have not only contested elections in the cooperative banks, societies but are defaulters and have supported BoD instead of marginal depositors.

Surprisingly, none of two dozen RSS organisations, which create a furore on drop of hat, have come to the rescue of small depositors that include labourers, marginal farmers, roadside vendors, daily wagers et al. The Communists haven’t protested it either.

The saffron and red brigade share a common platform here. Dominated by politicians of all hues, Mitra Mandal Sahkari Bank, Hindu Nagarik Sahkari Bank, Maharashtra Brahman Sahkari Bank Ltd, Indore Premier Cooperative Bank Ltd, Gujarat Mercantile Credit Sahkarita Limited (GMCSL), Nanda Nagar Sakh Sahkar Maryadit are some of the prominent cooperative bodies of City that face charges of financial irregularities with no action taken against their guilty BoD.

Police proved to be equally ineffective. With no public or political needling, the law enforcement agency has avoided taking action against GMCSL and Maharashtra Bank BoD, though their depositors lodged FIRs against them six and three months back respectively. A Central Kotwali police team sent to Pune to trace Maharashtra Bank ex-chairman Prof Yashwant Dabir and others returned empty handed.

The police team, sources said, was entertained so well in Pune that there is competition among cops here to join the search party to be sent to Maharashtra. Dabir, who is close to Maharashtra leader of Opposition Nitin Gadkari, is alleged to have taken shelter in the southern state.

A recent example of political play is Maharashtra Bank, which is under liquidation. Deposit Insurance Credit Guarantee Corporation, an RBI subsidiary in Mumbai, is to issue a cheque of Rs 32 crore as insurance claim to its 33,000 depositors.

If the Bank receives this sum, it will be able to pay back the money of 28,000 depositors who have individual deposit of less than Rs 1 lakh in the Bank.

Indore MP and ex-Union minister Sumitra Mahajan is alleged to have prevented DICGC from releasing the amount.

“My mother is trying for its merger with Nagpur Nagarik Sahkari Bank Ltd, which will be a better option, because it will help revive a dead organisation and safeguard the interest of all the depositors,” ex-Bank director Milind, son of Sumitra Mahajan, told Hindustan Times. He assured that bank merger would materialise within a month and half.

Sumitra, sources said, took this step after some old hands of the Bank told her that insurance disbursement would affect bank merger.

However, experts cite Section 18 of the DICGC Act 1961 and say that they are two separate issues and would not impact amalgamation.

“I have talked to Sumitraji and State Cooperatives Registrar (Prabhat Parashar) in this connection. They are two separate issues. We are in touch with DICGC and hope to receive the amount soon,” State Cooperative Cell in-charge and ex-BJP MLA Bhanwar Singh Shekhawat said.

But why are there no voices to support beleaguered depositors? Says Shekhawat, “We’ve begun taking action against the guilty across the State. Results will be visible in Indore soon.”