Mumbai Police on Monday registered an FIR against senior Nationalist Congress Party leader and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and 70 former functionaries in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank scam case on alleged charges of cheating and forgery, days after the Bombay high court directed them to file an offence.
Ajit Pawar, a nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, had served as deputy chief minister from November 10, 2010 to September 26, 2014.
Other accused include Peasants and Workers Party leader Jayant Patil and the then directors and senior officials from the superseded bank's units in 34 districts in
the state, an official said.
"We have registered an offence at MRA Marg police station based on the complaint of Economic Offences Wing," an official said.
They have been booked under sections 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent), 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust), 465 (punishment for forgery), 467 (forgery of valuable security, will, etc) and 120 (B) ( punishment of criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
On August 22, a bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and S K Shinde of the high court said there was "credible evidence" against the accused in the case and directed the Economic Offences Wing to register an FIR within five days.
The accused were allegedly complicit in causing losses to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore to MSCB between 2007 and 2011.
An inspection by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development as well as a chargesheet filed by a quasi-judicial inquiry commission under the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act blamed the "decisions, actions and inactions" of Pawar and the other accused for the loss.
The NABARD audit report revealed breach of several banking laws and RBI guidelines by the accused in distribution of loans to sugar factories and spinning mills, and subsequent default on repayment and recovery of such loans.
Activist Surinder Arora filed a complaint with the EOW in 2015 and approached the high court, seeking that an FIR be registered.
In view of the deficiencies pointed out by NABARD, the Reserve Bank of India had in May 2011 directed to supersede the MSCB board of directors and appoint an administrator to look after its affairs.
The HC had last week held that prima facie, NABARD's inspection report, the complaint, and the chargesheet under the MCS Act showed there existed "credible evidence" against the accused in the case.