EOW starts reinvestigation of Mumbai co-op bank fraud case; Oppn leader an accused

Published on Jun 29, 2021 12:35 AM IST

The city police’s economic offences wing (EOW) has started a reinvestigation in ₹123 crore Mumbai District Central Co-operative Bank Ltd cheating case after a local court recently rejected the C-Summary filed by the agency claiming that the case is a civil dispute

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ByVijay Kumar Yadav

The city police’s economic offences wing (EOW) has started a reinvestigation in 123 crore Mumbai District Central Co-operative Bank Ltd cheating case after a local court recently rejected the C-Summary filed by the agency claiming that the case is a civil dispute.

Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra legislative Council Pravin Darekar is the chairman of the co-operative bank and accused in the case. Darekar did not respond to HT’s phone calls and messages.

A C-Summary is filed when a criminal case was filed due to mistake in facts or the offences in the complaint are of a civil nature.

The case was first registered by MRA Marg police in March 2015 and later EOW took over its investigation. Darekar and other office-bearers were accused in the case for allegedly causing a loss of 123 crore to the bank since 1998 by fraud and embezzlement of funds.

The first information report (FIR) was registered on the complaint of an advocate, Vivekanand Gupta, who is also Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Mumbai secretary, alleging that Darekar and others have misused their positions in the bank. The complaint accused the bank officials of making risky investments and carrying out many illegal activities that resulted in the loss to the bank and the money was routed for the benefits of the accused.

The police had initially booked the accused under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent), 465 (punishment for forgery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged 1[document or electronic record]) and 120 (B) (punishment of criminal conspiracy).

EOW officers had carried out an investigation in the case and had closed it in 2019 by filing an application for C-Summary, claiming it to be a civil matter.

When the court informed Gupta about the C-summary application, he personally said that he has no objection. However, another complainant, Pankaj Kotecha, who also had levelled similar allegations, moved an application before the court opposing the C-summary. Kotecha informed the court that there should be an audit to detect the irregularities and enlighten on the transactions of the bank, but the investigation officer has not produced an audit report of the relevant period.

In its order passed on June 16, the court observed, “In the complaint, serious allegations are levelled against office bearers of the Mumbai District Central Co-operative Bank Ltd. As per their allegations, there is a misappropriation of a huge amount. It is a public fund. Therefore, a detailed investigation is required. Considering the report submitted by the investigation officer, it does not reflect detailed investigation regarding the allegations made in the FIR.”

Subsequently, the court rejected EOW’s application for C-summary and directed the investigating officer to further probe the case and submit the report in the court.

The EOW will now record Kotecha’s statement in detail.

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