Investigators probing the alleged misappropriation Rs 71 crore in the city-headquartered Shivajirao Bhosale Cooperative Bank have said a financial forensic audit will be conducted to establish the money trail before and after the amount was siphoned off from the bank. According to them, two separate instances of alleged embezzlement linked to the bank are also being probed.
NCP leader and Member of Legislative Council (MLC) Anil Bhosale and three other dismissed office-bearers of the bank, arrested in connection with the alleged fraud, are in police custody till Friday.
The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Pune City police, which is probing the case, arrested Bhosale (55), two directors Suryaji Jadhav (69), Tanaji Padwal (50) and chief accountant of the bank Shailesh Bhosale (47) on February 25. Nearly a dozen more members of the dismissed board of directors of the bank, including Bhosale’s wife Reshma — who is an independent corporator with BJP’s support in the Pune Municipal Corporation — have been named in the case but are yet to be arrested.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Economic Offences and Cyber Crime) Sambhaji Kadam said, “Primary inquiry is being conducted into two more instances of misappropriation. One is of siphoning off an amount of over Rs 1 crore from the Deccan Gymkhana branch of the bank. There are allegations that an amount of over Rs 2 crore was withdrawn when RBI restrictions were in place. A forensic financial audit will also be conducted into the money trail.”
Investigating officer of the case, Inspector Murlidhar Karpe, said, “The forensic financial audit will establish the money trail before and after siphoning off of the money. The forensic audit will attempt to reveal how the money was used.”
A senior official who did not wish to be named also said there was a possibility of the Enforcement Directorate looking into the money laundering aspect of the case.
In January, a criminal offence was registered against the then office-bearers of the bank, after a statutory audit, conducted in May last year for the financial year 2018-19, found a shortfall of over Rs 71 crore in the cash-on-hand segment. Since the first week of May last year, there has been a freeze on withdrawals from the bank after a special scrutiny, conducted by the RBI in April last year, revealed serious irregularities in the functioning of the bank.
Since then, all the depositors have been allowed just a one-time withdrawal of Rs 1,000 and nothing more, as per the rules. The State Cooperatives Department had subsequently dismissed the board of directors of the bank in October 2019 and appointed an outside administrator.
Founded over 50 years ago by Jagannathrao Bhosale, the grandfather of Anil Bhosale, the bank was initially called Shivajinagar Cooperative Bank. After Anil Bhosale took over the reins of the bank, he re-named it after his father Shivajirao Bhosale. The bank has over 95,000 depositors who have deposits of nearly Rs 450 crore. The bank has 14 branches, all of them in Pune district.
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