There’s more trouble in store for newly inducted labour minister Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar and embarrassment for chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. The Congress brought to light details of the former’s involvement in a Rs49 crore non-performing asset (NPA) loan case, in which he has been charge sheeted by the CBI.
Fadnavis, who gave a clean chit to his younger colleague in the state assembly just last week, may now have to face a breach of privilege motion, with the Congress saying it will move the notice against him for misguiding the Assembly.
Documents released by the Congress reveal Nilangekar was charged with criminal conspiracy in this case by the CBI, along with other directors of the firm, Victoria Agro Foods, which took the loan from the Union Bank of India and Bank of Maharashtra. Contrary to Nilangekar’s claims, his role in the case was not limited to being just a guarantor for the loan, but he had a direct family interest in the firm.
The firm is learnt to be promoted by his brother-in-law, Ashish Marwah, with his sister Prajakta Marwah, a director in it along with others. The firm’s official address is listed as Nilangekar Bungalow, LIC colony, Latur, listed in the name of the minister’s mother.
The CBI’s complaint lodged with its banking securities and fraud cell in 2014, states that the directors and Nilangekar were in a “criminal conspiracy to cheat Union Bank and Bank of Maharashtra and diverted funds released from the accounts of these banks for the purpose other than what they were sanctioned and did not create assets for the said facility..”
The complaint added: it is also alleged that they tampered with the mortgage deed registered with sub-registrar of survey 289/A admeasuring 8 hectares, valued at Rs20.42 crore and illegally substituted it with property bearing survey number 5A admeasuring 740 sq metres having lesser value...”
The complaint states that these facts disclose commission of offences of criminal conspiracy and cheating by the accused persons and got registered under section 120B and 420 of Indian Penal Code.
The firm was to set up a grain-based distillery in Latur, but the plant did not take off.
“If charges of criminal conspiracy and cheating against nationalised banks are not serious, then what is a serious offence? But the CM, instead of taking the matter seriously, blatantly misguided and lied to the Assembly, terming this as a family feud in haste, to give Nilangekar a clean chit. We will move court in this case and also write to the CBI to initiate proceedings because it has been sitting on this case for a year now,” said Vikhe Patil.
He said the party was in the process of moving breach of privilege against Fadnavis.
Fadnavis, in his clean chit, had said Nilangekar’s case stemmed from a family feud over succession of a plot, with his grandfather, also his political rival, which he had offered as collateral for a loan for a firm. He had further said the CBI intervened as it concerned the NPA of a nationalised bank.
HT had reported earlier this week that Fadnavis’ clean chit with respect to two of his young ministers — Nilangekar and tourism minister Jaykumar Rawal — would backfire.
In both cases, the CM is now on the backfoot, with the Opposition releasing documents that make it difficult to defend the ministers.
Nilangekar had told HT that his role in this case was limited to that of a guarantor and the plot he had offered as collateral had been challenged by his grandfather. “This case was moved with political vendetta. I asked for this firm to invest in my constituency so that some jobs get created...when my uncle moved a case against this loan challenging the land ownership, the loan instalments were stopped, which directly hit the firm’s working capital. I have already moved for a discharge plea in this case,” Nilangekar had told HT, earlier this week.