MSCB case: Maharashtra objects to activist’s plea for CBI inquiry

The Maharashtra government on Monday opposed a petition filed by an activist seeking transfer of the probe into the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank scam allegedly involving Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar to the CBI.

Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni told a Division Bench of Justices S.S. Shinde and Manish Pitale that based on the complainant Surinder Arora’s public interest litigation, filed in 2019, the High Court, in August that year, ordered the State Economic Offences Wing (EOW) to probe the case.

“The EOW lodged an FIR and carried out investigation. On September 5, 2020, a closure report was submitted to the sessions court,” Mr. Kumbhakoni said.

Mr. Arora has filed a protest petition in the sessions court challenging the closure report, which is pending for hearing, he said.

“Hence, at this stage the petitioner cannot ask for transfer of probe to the CBI. We (government) have a preliminary objection to this petition,” the Advocate General said.

The Bench directed him to file an affidavit and posted the matter for hearing on March 22.

Mr. Arora last week filed a petition through his advocate Satish Talekar alleging the EOW’s closure report giving a clean chit to then finance minister Ajit Pawar and 75 others, 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.

The EOW, in its closure report, said its probe did not reveal any irregularities in loan transactions.

“The EOW, in a most hurried manner, filed a closure report stating 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.

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