New Delhi, Sep 2 (IANS) In a setback for NCP leader Ajit Pawar, the Supreme Court on Monday declined to quash investigation against him in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank scam. It, instead, directed the state police to conduct a free and fair probe, observing that investigations cannot be obstructed at this stage.
A bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice M.R. Shah declined to entertain the special leave petition seeking to quash investigation against Pawar and others in the case as directed by the Bombay High Court.
The high court had, on August 22, directed the police to lodge an FIR against Pawar and over 70 others in the Rs 1,000 crore scam.
Besides former Deputy Chief Minister Pawar, the other accused include Peasants and Workers Party leader Jayant Patil, along with several senior cooperative bank officials from as many as 34 districts in the state. The accused allegedly were complicit in causing losses worth Rs 1,000 crore between 2007 and 2011.
Surinder Arora, an activist, had filed a complaint against Pawar and others with the economic offences wing in 2015. He then moved the high court when the police failed to register the FIR on his complaint.
Pawar, Patil and several former Directors of the bank have been accused for flouting the Reserve Bank of India regulations related to banking with respect to disbursement of loans to sugar mills at very low rates, and also disposing off the assets of the defaulters’ businesses at dirt cheap prices.
The complainant had alleged that the losses of over Rs 1,000 crore were incurred by the bank by such sale of assets, disbursement of cheap loans and failure to ensure repayment between 2007 and 2011. Arora also alleged that the accused forged records and fudged figures to show the bank was making profits.