Arrest BJP Oppn Leader in Mumbai bank fraud case, says AAP

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The Maharashtra Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday demanded the resignation and arrest of Bhartiya Janata Party’s Leader of Opposition (Council) Pravin Darekar in connection with an alleged bank fraud case he is embroiled in.

Addressing the media, AAP state General Secretary Dhananjay Shinde and others said that Darekar had cheated Mumbai citizens by falsely claiming to be a manual labourer to contest and win the Mumbai District Central Cooperative Bank (MDDCB) elections.

During his tenure as the MDCCB Chairman, Darekar also “oversaw the misappropriation of bank funds to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore”, Shinde alleged.

However, Darekar – who was the MDCCB Director for two terms and followed as Chairman for two terms (2011-2021) — has consistently denied all the charges against him by the AAP and earlier by the ruling Shiv Sena.

The AAP leaders said that during his tenure at the helm of the bank, the State Cooperative Department and NABARD audit reports pointed at irregularities related to misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 2000 crore between 2015 and 2021, and utter disregard of regulatory compliances and procedures.

“We demand the immediate resignation of Darekar as Leader of Opposition (Council) and call upon the MVA government to set up a Special Investigation Team for a time-bound probe into the embezzled funds at the MDCCB,” said AAP Mumbai In-Charge Preeti Sharma-Menon.

Shinde, who lodged a police complaint against Darekar in January after exposing his dubious credentials in the name of a labour organisation, Pratigya Cooperative Labour Organisation, said he was disqualified by the Cooperative Department on January 8, 2022.

After Shinde’s complaint, the MRA Marg Police Station lodged a first information report against Darekar on March 15 after which the latter has been moving various courts seeking pre-arrest reliefs.

“The post of Leader of Opposition is prestigious and a dishonest and corrupt person like Darekar cannot be allowed to occupy it. The Leader of Opposition (Assembly) Devendra Fadnavis, former ministers like Chandrakant Patil and Subhas Deshmukh have shielded Darekar and are equally liable for the crimes perpetrated by him,” Shinde said.

Targeting the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), he accused it of failing to take action against Darekar because some of the ruling coalition leaders were also directors at the MDCCB.

Sharma-Menon further demanded that the RBI should intervene to appoint an administrator and monitor the MDCCB’s functions till the issue reaches its logical conclusion.

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