Transfer MSC Bank scam case to CBI: Petition in Bombay HC
A petition has been filed in the Bombay high court (HC) seeking transfer of the investigation into the alleged Maharashtra State Co-operative (MSC) Bank scam from Maharashtra Police’s economic offences wing (EOW) to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The petition was filed the activist who lodged the complaint in the MSC Bank scam. The petitioner has alleged that the closure report filed by EOW giving a clean chit to the then finance minister Ajit Pawar and 75 directors of the district banks was questionable as it was based on the statement of managing director Ajit Deshmukh, who was also named in the alleged scam.
The petitioner claimed that though there was enough evidence and statements of other authorities confirming the scam, Deshmukh had given a statement that the banks had recovered the alleged losses and the offences were of civil nature, based on which the C-summary report (closure report) was filed by EOW last year. EOW had started the probe after receiving directions from the Bombay HC in 2018 while hearing a public interest litigation filed by activist Surinder Arora.
The petition, filed by Arora and Manik Jadhav through advocate Satish Talekar, has alleged that the closure report filed by the investigating officer of EOW before the sessions court last year has recorded statements of directors who are accused in the case and incorporated Deshmukh’s statement in verbatim, which clearly show that the cyclostyle statements were prepared with common design and agenda by the investigating agency in collusion with the accused.
The petition challenged the closure report and alleged that Deshmukh was not the managing director of MSC Bank at the time when illegal loans were sanctioned or Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana (SSKs) were illegally sold to politicians at throw-away prices. It added that all the documents placed on record by EOW are those referred to by Deshmukh.
Referring the lapses in the EOW investigation, the petition states that the serious findings of misappropriation and mismanagement recorded in the NABARD inspection report, Joshi and Nair report, inquiry under section 83 of the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, charge sheet issued under section 88 of the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act were given a go-by, holding that the bank managed to recover the losses.
The petitioners opposed the C-summary report, wherein EOW had filed an intervention plea in the proceedings, on the grounds that it was a ‘serious economic case and required thorough investigation.
Stressing on the need to transfer the probe to CBI, the petition stated, “The petitioners have strong apprehensions that the cause raised by them shall be nipped in the bud due to the political clout of the accused whereas no fair investigation shall be carried out in the matter. Since the accused persons are people in power, there is no likelihood that the investigation shall be at any point of time completed fairly. The conduct of the EOW right from the very beginning in stating that no cognisable offences have been made out till filing of C-summary report itself warrants investigation by an independent agency in order to ensure fair trial of the proceedings.”
Due to paucity of time on Friday, the division bench of justice SS Shinde and justice Manish Pitale could not hear the petition. The bench is likely to take it up on Monday, March 1.