Deputy Chief Minister and state Finance Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday courted trouble as Opposition leaders demanded his resignation over his alleged role in ‘financial mismanagement’ in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank.
The findings of the committee report constituted by government to identity the problem and fix accountability in the apex bank has indicted board directors responsible for the financial state of the bank. One of the board of the directors was Ajit Pawar.
The non-recovery of loans issued to district cooperatives and societies is worth Rs 1,500 crore.
Maharashtra BJP president Devendra Fadnavis said, “I had raised the issue of MSCB in the state legislature assembly along with documentary evidence. Ajit Pawar who wielded absolute control in the MSCB should immediately resign.” Fadnavis said, “I had also filed an FIR under 88(3) of the Cooperative Act. That forced the government to order the investigations and take the matter to its logical conclusion.”
The apex bank has failed to recover loans worth Rs 1,500 crore.
Earlier, the Bombay High Court, responding to a PIL, also said preliminary findings suggest there was need for a probe into the functioning of the MSCB. The RBI, too, directed government to ‘set things right’.
In 2011, the RBI, had questioned the state government about how the MSCB was functioning without a legal licence. The argument given by the government was that the rules were different when the MSCB came into being and therefore it cannot be faulted.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, however, took the onus to streamline the functioning and appointed the administrator after dissolving the board of directors whose functioning also came under the scanner through a CAG report essentially for misuse of funds.
Pawar on Friday refused to comment on the issue, saying, “The matter is quasi judicial.” He refuted the allegations levelled against him.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “We have not received any report based on investigations indicting Pawar or any of our ministers.” Malik said, “Why is Ajit Pawar being singled out? The Board of Directors in MSCB included all parties leaders. The BJP should question their own leaders, namely Pandurang Phundkar (BJP), Anandrao Adsul (Shiv Sena) who were also on the bank panel.”