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Maharashtra labour minister founded company which didn’t repay bank loan: AAP

AAP has alleged that Sambhaji Patil-Nilangekar is the shareholder of VAFPPL, which had secured the loan from two public sector banks, Union Bank of India and Bank of Maharashtra.

mumbai Updated: Mar 30, 2018 00:15 IST
Naresh Kamath
Naresh Kamath
Hindustan Times
Maharashtra,Labour Minister,Union Bank of India
The AAP has demanded the sacking of the minister for cheating the banks and siphoning off the public money. (HT FILE)

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday targeted state labour minister Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar over the Non-Performing Asset (NPA) loan case, alleging that the minister’s role in the issue was not limited to just being a guarantor for the loan. The party has also alleged that property papers offered in his name as collateral to secure the loan of Rs39.99 crore were fake.

AAP spokesperson Preeti Sharma Menon said that Patil-Nilangekar is the founder, former director as well as the current shareholder of Victoria Agro Food Processing Private Limited (VAFPPL), which had secured the loan from the two public sector banks, Union Bank of India and Bank of Maharashtra. While Patil-Nilangekar quit the company as a director a few months after it was incorporated, his brother, sister and brother-in-law continued to be directors when the loan was taken in 2009, said AAP.

HT had reported on Thursday that both the banks opted for a one-time settlement (OTS) agreement with VAFPPL to settle the NPA account at Rs25.50 crore. This was done by waiving off interests on the loan and slashing the principal amount by Rs7.50 crore each. Both the banks had defended the OTS, stating that it was done as per Reserve Bank of India (RBI) norms to secure maximum amount possible.

Patil-Nilangekar refuted the AAP allegations. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also defended the minister in the assembly on Wednesday.

“Sambhaji Patil-Nilangekar was only a guarantor. The settlement was done as per RBI norms under RBI policy. He did not take the loan himself. It’s not right to defame a young minister like this.”

In 2014, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had filed a case of criminal conspiracy against the company and also named the minister after the banks complained about it being an NPA.

``In 2009, he gave bank fake property papers to avail Rs39.99 crores worth of credit for a company that was to set up a grain-based distillery. In 2011, the loan was declared an NPA, and when the bank began the recovery process they discovered that mortgaged properties did not belong to Patil- Nilangekar,” said Menon.

She added that while he had claimed that he had received the property from his grandfather Shivajirao Bhaurao Patil, in the certified extract taken in 2014, the property is still in the name of the grandfather.

“Here poor people are harassed for every penny, while people like Patil-Nilengekar get bank largesse using fraudulent means,” said Menon.

The AAP has demanded the sacking of the minister for cheating the banks and siphoning off the public money.

While Patil-Nilangekar was not available for comment on Thursday, he had earlier said that accusations against him are a result of the political feud within his family, as his grandfather and uncle are in the Congress.

“I am only a guarantor for this loan and so I am not directly involved in this case. The OTS was done strictly as per bank norms, and such settlements have been done with several other companies. The political feud in our family has led to the dispute over the land and the mortgage issue.

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First Published: Mar 30, 2018 00:15 IST