Nagpur: In what may sent flutter across those affected from the city’s notorious Cooperative Bank scam, the investigating officer has pointed towards the continuous mental, physical and financial harassment he has been receiving and eventually sought permission to drop himself from the probe panel. Investigating Officer Surendra Kharbade doled out this startling revelation before Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Monday. He said even since has been investigating the Nagpur District National Central Cooperative Bank’s (NDCCB) government securities scam, has been getting threats from the disturbing elements. Also, he cited, the government is not paying his bills. while seeking permission to be excused from the job.
Kharbade had started working on the case in June 2014 and was heading towards completion when he suddenly made this move. The bench, comprising justices Bhushan Gavai and Indira Jain, who were taken aback, told Kharbade that the court would provide him with security and ask the government to clear his dues.
But Kharbade was adamant and maintained that he would not like to continue. “All my decisions are being challenged in the court and the inquiry is dragging on. I am getting no financial or legal support from the government. How can I continue to do my work?” Kharbade told the court. The bench, in the end, allowed Kharbade to withdraw himself from the case with the assurance that all his dues will be cleared. The court also directed the government to appoint a new IO. The NDCCB, headed by NCP leader and former minister Sunil Kedar, had in 2002 had spent Rs 150 crore to purchase government securities from a company called Home Trade but the securities never reached the banks. Similar scams were reported from other cooperative banks in places such as Osmanabad and Wardha. An inquiry by the cooperatives department had held Kedar guilty and had asked him to pay up Rs 300 crore to the bank. Kedar, however, petitioned to the then cooperatives minister Harshawardhan Patil, seeking fresh inquiry. Patil readily obliged and it was then that Kharbade was appointed the IO.
Last month, the high court dismissed two appeals filed by Kedar, which stated Kharbade’s refusal to record fresh evidences and issuance of notices to NABARD and District Deputy Registrar of Cooperatives. A fine of of Rs 40,000 was also imposed on Kedar. Soon after, Kedar moved the Supreme Court.