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Co-op bank scam: SC refuses to interfere with HC order for FIR against NCP's Ajit Pawar, others

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: September 2, 2019  | 18:41 IST

(Eds: Updating with details from hearing) New Delhi, Sep 2 (PTI) In a setback to senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar, the Supreme Court on Monday refused to quash the investigation started by Maharashtra Police against him and over 70 others in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank scam, saying the probe cannot be stopped. The apex court refused to interfere with the Bombay High Court's direction for the police to register an FIR against Pawar and others in the scam. A bench comprising justices Arun Mishra and M R Shah was hearing the petition filed by some of the accused challenging the August 22 order of the high court. A day after the high court order, the Mumbai Police's Economic Offences Wing (EOW) had registered the FIR in connection with the scam. While disposing of the petition, the bench observed, that the case involves huge money and investigation cannot be stopped. "We are not going to interfere with the high court order," the bench said, adding that the investigation will proceed ahead uninfluenced by the order and observation of the high court. The bench did not accept the arguments of some accused persons who had moved the apex court that the Bombay High Court should not have entertained the PIL which was not maintainable in the criminal matter. Through their lawyers, they submitted that the order was passed without all of them being heard. Pawar, Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) leader Jayant Patil and several former directors of the bank are accused of violating banking and RBI regulations while disbursing loans to sugar mills at very low rates and selling off assets of defaulter businesses at throwaway prices. Such sale of assets, disbursement of cheap loans and a failure to ensure repayment resulted in losses of over Rs 1,000 crore to the bank between 2007 and 2011, it is alleged. The accused allegedly forged records and fudged figures to show the bank was making profits. Pawar, a former deputy chief minister and finance minister, was a director of the bank during the relevant period. Inquiries by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development and a charge sheet filed by a quasi-judicial inquiry commission under the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act had blamed Pawar and other accused for the bank's losses. Surinder Arora, an activist, had filed a complaint against Pawar and others with the EOW in 2015. He approached the high court through his lawyer S B Talekar when no FIR was registered on his complaint. PTI RKS LLP SA

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