Raising doubts about the way Pune City Police filed a closure report against three officials of Bank of Maharashtra (BoM), who were arrested by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Pune Police in a case involving the city-based DSK Group, which has allegedly cheated thousands of depositors, the Special Public Prosecutor in the case, Pravin Chavan, has said he should have been consulted before filing the report.
He added that he would present his say before the court “according to his conscience.”
The three BoM officials — Chairman and Managing Director (CMD), Ravindra Marathe; Executive Director, Rajendra Gupta; and former CMD, Sushil Muhnoot — were arrested on June 20, along with the zonal manager, Nityanand Deshpande.
Police on Saturday filed a closure report against Marathe, Gupta and Muhnoot under Section 169 of the Criminal Procedure Code, saying they did not find any evidence of criminal intent against them.
Police have, however, sent a report to the department of financial services of the Ministry of Finance, leaving a scope for a probe to find out if there had been any irregularities committed by the three officials. Police probe against Deshpande is still on.
These arrests in June were made in connection with a case registered in October last year against developer Deepak Kulkarni, his wife Hemanti Kulkarni, son Shirish and others in the Rs 2,043.18-crore fraud.
The amount included Rs 1,083 crore taken as deposits and loans from depositors, Rs 711 crore of loans taken from various banks and financial institutions, Rs 112 crore of debentures and Rs 137 crore of misappropriation in a land deal at Phursungi near Pune.
Chavan said, “I was neither communicated about nor consulted by the police before filing the closure report in the court. As the prosecutor of the case, I feel that I should have been consulted and such a report should have been filed through me. Now that the police have done this, the court will hear from the complainant in the case and I will also be asked to put forward my say, which I will do according to my conscience. If the court opines that there is enough evidence to go ahead with the prosecution, the closure report will be rejected.”
Pune Police Commissioner, K Venkatesham, said, “Report of investigating officer has been seen by and discussed with the Special Public Prosecutor before submission. Now the matter is sub judice.”
On Venkatesham’s claim, Chavan said, “It is a completely false statement. Rather I was told that investigating officer Nilesh More was on leave from October 18 to 22. I was completely kept in the dark.”
RTI activist, Vijay Kumbhar, who has been representing the aggrieved depositors of the DSK Group on various platforms said, “The said closure report shows that the government does not have faith in its own institution of police. The initial arrests could have been made without a nod from political leadership. Now it needs to be asked, what changed during this time that the police were made to take a U-turn of this scale. We are preparing a protest petition against the police action on behalf of the depositors. This closure report is against the interest of the aggrieved depositors.”
The closure report filed by the police has stated, “The probe shows that the action by the said bank officials was not done with the criminal intent but was an imprudent business decision and against the laid-down directives of Reserve Bank of India, Central Vigilance Commission and Central Government.”