Mumbai: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) -Shiv Sena tussle has now reached the banking sector. The Mumbai District Central Cooperative Bank Limited is once again embroiled in controversy after it approved a loan worth Rs68 crore to an irrigation firm that is under the scanner in the multi-crore irrigation scam.
Former Shiv Sena corporator Abhishek Ghosalkar, one of the directors of the bank, has accused Pravin Darekar, the BJP member of legislative council (MLC) who is also the chairman of the bank, of passing the proposal for clearing the loan to Srinivasa Constructions Corporation Limited despite objections.
“Darekar and other BJP members used their majority to approve the loan despite objections from various quarters. The firm did not fulfil several conditions, yet the loan was sanctioned and partly disbursed in record time,” said Ghosalkar.
He said that loan was sanctioned on October 24, and Rs5 crore was disbursed the very next day.
“How can we sanction a loan to a firm involved in the irrigation scam? This is very risky and we will lose this amount,” he added.
He said the norms violated included non-compliance conditions like no proper collateral, non-submission of documents and bank statements, and negative remark from the consultant.
Avinash Joshi, spokesperson, Srinivasa Construction Corporation Limited, said, “It is a legal proposal and we have submitted all the relevant documents for the loan. It is taken for our business and was scrutinised thoroughly.”
He said that being named in the scam does not disqualify the firm for taking a loan.
“The inquiry on the irrigation scam is ongoing and there is still no charge sheet in the matter till date. We have also filed a writ petition against the First Information Report (FIR) in the Nagpur High Court,” he added.
Ghosalkar and other Sena members like Abhijeet Adsul have written a letter to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the National bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), pointing to the violations in the approval.
Darekar, who was previously with the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), dismissed all the allegations as politically motivated. “The Shiv Sena just wants to score political points through these allegations and spoil the reputation of our bank. They did not raise objections in the board meeting and are raising their voice through the media,” said Darekar.
He also disclaimed any negative remarks and said that the firm has offered a collateral guarantee of 125 % of the loan amount.
“There are periodic inspections by both RBI and NABARD, and it is our imperative to follow all the rules as specified by them,” he added.