Mumbai: Days before polls in Congress-NCP ruled Kolhapur Municipal Corporation, the Maharashtra government, in an apparent attempt to dent the Opposition's image, has ordered to initiate action against then directors of Kolhapur District Cooperative Bank for alleged misuse of funds.
Most of the then bank directors, where an alleged misuse of about Rs 147 crore took place, were from Opposition parties, including former Congress minister Satej Patil, ex-NCP minister Hasan Mushrif and former MLA Vinay Kore.
State Cooperation Minister Chandrakant Patil confirmed that his department has issued a notice to recover the amount of loan that was approved by alleged violation of rules.
"The then board of directors of Kolhapur District Cooperative Central Bank (DCC) had sanctioned loans to various individuals and cooperative organisations to the tune of Rs 147 crore. The way the money was sanctioned was illegal and in many cases no guarantor or collateral security was taken against the loans," Patil said.
Cooperation Department's Regional Assistant Director Sachin Rawal was assigned to conduct an investigation on the loan allocation.
It was revealed that loans were sanctioned and disbursed during 2002-03 and 2006-07. Later, based on Rawal's report, Cooperation department's divisional deputy registrar Rajendrakumar Darade issued notices to the then 45 directors, via rule 88 of the Cooperation Act, to fix responsibility on each of them.
The auditor submitted its report to Cooperation department on January 23 this year.
According to a department official, the directors challenged the contents of the report and filed an appeal before the Cooperation minister as he has quasi-judicial powers of hearing.
However, Patil rejected appeal of the directors and retained the department's order to recover Rs 147,01,42,423 from the 45 directors and then managing director of DCC Bank. "Now, the Cooperation department can seize the properties of these (former) directors to recover the amount. The directors have already filed information of their property to the department. So there will be no problems in recovering the amount," Patil said.
Reacting to the developments, Hasan Mushrif said, "It is a political decision taken by Chandrakant Patil as he wants to take revenge from the NCP. He wants to defame the NCP, but it will not have any affect on the result of Kolhapur civic polls. We have 21 days to appeal in the High Court and we will go to court once the election is over."
Meanwhile, Patil said the financial mismanagement in the DCC Bank will go against Congress and NCP, which have been in power in the corporation for last several years.
"This time BJP will win the civic election and come to power," he said confidentaly.
Kolhapur Municipal Corporation polls will be held on November 1.
The BJP has a tie-up with the local Tararani Front while the Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP are contesting the election independently.