The Mumbai Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW), in its closure report filed before the sessions court last month in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank alleged fraud case, has said that its probe did not reveal any irregularities in loan transactions.
A closure report was filed by the police against 75 people charge sheeted in the case, including Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and other political leaders.
The EOW had started the probe after receiving directions from the Bombay High Court in 2018 on a public interest litigation filed by Surinder Arora, a private citizen. It submitted a “C-summary” or closure report before the court detailing 20 points that led it to conclude that no criminal offence was committed.
Arora had alleged that there were irregularities in the loan transactions of cooperative banks between 2002 and 2017 and a probe should be initiated against their directors and members. The complaint had claimed that loans were given without following specific procedure, resulting in losses affecting the rural economy. The PIL had also claimed that till 2006, there were 202 sugar cooperatives in the state, of which 116 were running in losses, 74 had negative worth and 31 had been shut.
The EOW closure report stated that nothing was found to show that the banks had given loans to individual members for their personal benefit. It added that accurate security deposits were taken.
The report further claimed that specific allegations regarding procedures not being followed while granting loans, legal recourse not taken for non-repayment and loans being given at the end of financial year, are of a civil nature and a criminal offence cannot be made out of them.
It added that the process of another bank within the cooperative giving loans to members of the boards or their families was transparent with disclosures made as per Reserve Bank of India guidelines. Arora’s lawyer, Subhash Talekar, said that the investigation was not conducted properly while claiming that statements of key witnesses were not taken.
Earlier this week, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had filed an intervention application in the case, following which the court has asked the EOW to file a reply. The agency has filed a separate case on allegations of money laundering in connection to the alleged scam.
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