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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

MSCB fraud case: Bombay High Court asks state govt to respond on plea seeking transfer of probe to CBI

Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni opposed the plea and raised preliminary objections, stating that on earlier the PIL, the HC had directed the EOW to lodge an FIR and the investigation was conducted.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
March 1, 2021 8:54:04 pm
The EOW, in its closure report filed before the sessions court last September in the MSCB fraud case, said its probe did not reveal any irregularities in loan transactions. (File)

The Bombay High Court, on Monday, sought the state government’s response on a plea by an activist who lodged a complaint in the alleged MSCB (Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank) scam, seeking transfer of the investigation from the state police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice Manish Pitale ruled in the plea by Surinder Mohan Arora and Manik Jadhav, through advocates Satish Talekar and Madhavi Ayyapan, alleging that the EOW’s closure report giving a clean chit to then finance minister Ajit Pawar and 75 other people including directors of district banks, was based on the statement of a managing director, Ajit Deshmukh, who was also named in the scam.

Deshmukh gave a statement that there was nothing amiss in the functioning of the banks and all revenue was accounted for, as a result of which the C-summary report (closure report) was filed by EOW last year, the plea stated.

Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni opposed the plea and raised preliminary objections, stating that on earlier the PIL, the HC had directed the EOW to lodge an FIR and the investigation was conducted. Kumbhakoni added that a closure report was submitted to the sessions court on September 5 last year and protest pleas by the petitioner against the same are pending before the trial court, therefore the present writ petition should not be entertained.

The EOW, in its closure report filed before the sessions court last September in the MSCB fraud case, said its probe did not reveal any irregularities in loan transactions.

“The EOW, in a most hurried manner, filed a closure report stating that losses caused to the bank were recovered and, therefore, the offences are of “civil nature” and sought issuance of “C” summary report. The entire report surrounds the statement of one Ajit Deshmukh, who appears to have held the brief of the accused and justified the actions of the directors. No attempt is made by the investigating officer to unearth the scam,” the plea stated.

The petitioners have filed a protest petition opposing the EOW’s closure report, where the EOW filed an intervention plea in the proceedings before the sessions court on the ground that it was a “serious economic case” and required thorough investigation.

The application filed by Enforcement Directorate (ED), however, was rejected on the ground that the ED investigation is independent of EOW and, therefore, the ED shall not have jurisdiction to intervene in the present proceedings.

The petitioners sought directions from the court to transfer the probe from EOW to CBI. Directing the state government to file written note raising preliminary objections about maintainability of plea, the court listed the matter for further hearing on March 22.

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