Nagpur: The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Thursday pulled up Maharashtra government for inordinately delaying inquiry into Rs150 crore Nagpur District Central Cooperative Bank (NDCCB) scam, and directed it to appoint an inquiry officer to probe one of the biggest cooperative scandals of the country. The court suggested appointing a retired judge of cooperative court for conducting the probe into the scam allegedly involving many top politicians.
Justice Bhushan Gavai and Justice Atul Chandurkar also sought to know the status of criminal proceedings pending against Congress MLA Sunil Kedar, who was chairman of the bank when the scam rocked it.
The directives came after a petitioner moved the court praying immediate appointment of an inquiry officer. Omprakash Kamdi through counsel Shreerang Bhandarkar demanded to complete the probe within a month contending that Supreme Court, which had earlier granted a stay on enquiry, had dismissed Kedar’s plea praying for inclusion of NABARD and cooperatives registrar in re-inquiry ordered against him.
Earlier also, Kamdi along with 13 others had filed a PIL in this regard after which the court passed orders setting a definitive time frame for appellate authority to decide his appeal within six months and directed the trial court to take this case on priority.
On July 27 last year, the high court rejected Kedar’s petition for extension of stay on enquiry. It granted six months extension to former inquiry officer Surendra Kharbade, appointed by the Maharashtra government, to probe the scam. Accordingly, Kharbade issued notices to all 27 accused, including Kedar, while asking them to reply.
However, on March 2, the court discharged Kharbade as per his request and directed the government to appoint a new officer as early as possible to probe the scandal. Citing his growing age and deteriorating health, Kharbade had moved an application to relieve him from the work pointing out non-cooperation from government officials. He also requested to be relieved from the responsibility of looking after enquiry records, as there was a risk involved in it. The court directed joint registrar for cooperatives in city to take custody of all records from Kharbade and hand it over to the new officer.