The Bombay High Court on Thursday ordered the police to lodge a FIR, within five days, against Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar, ex-Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and at least 70 others in a ₹1,000 crore scam in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank.
A division bench of Justice S.C. Dharmadhikari and Justice S.K. Shinde held that there was prima facie credible evidence and directed the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) to initiate the proceedings invoking the relevant provisions of the laws.
Besides the Pawar duo, the name of NCP state President Jayant Patil also figures, several other prominent politicians, government and bank officials who have been named in a PIL filed by a Mumbai-based activist Surinder M. Arora.
They were accused of causing losses worth around ₹1,000 crore to the state's apex cooperative bank between 2007-2011.
Earlier, a quasi-judicial probe panel under the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, had blamed Pawars and the other accused in the matter.
The National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD) had also inspected and audited the MSCB, revealing flouting of various banking and Reserve Bank of India rules, while distributing loans to sugar factories and spinning mills, and the subsequent defaults on repayments and recoveries of the dues.
Despite the probe reports and complaints lodged by Arora, no action or a FIR was filed in the matter after which he filed a PIL in the high court in 2015.