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MSC Bank Case: Special ACB Court Rejects ED’s Plea for Intervention

MSC Bank Case: Special ACB Court Rejects ED’s Plea for Intervention

A Special Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) court has said that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is neither a complainant nor a victim. The court said this while rejecting the ED’s plea asking permission to intervene and oppose the report published by Mumbai Police which sought to close the Maharashtra State Cooperative (MSC) Bank fraud case. 

“One investigation agency being not happy with the work of other investigation agency and therefore wants to intervene, this itself is foreign to criminal law,” the special court said.

Mumbai Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) had filed a closure report in September for the alleged INR 25,000 crore fraud case involving MSC Bank. The EOW filed a C-summary report with the special ACB court after a special investigation team (SIT) couldn’t find any criminal aspects that could be investigated in this case.

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The ED then started looking into the money laundering aspects of alleged fraud and eventually approached the special court for permission to intervene and oppose the police’s closure report. 

The ED had claimed at the time that since the high court has directed them to register an FIR (first information report), no contrary report can be filed. However, this plea was rejected on November 26 while the detailed order was released on December 1 

The special court said - “It was not expected that the investigation to get influenced by the findings given by the Hon’ble High Court and [Mumbai Police] was expected to carry out investigation in fair manner in accordance with the law. Accordingly, it was open for the investigation officer to submit report under section 173 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC); same can be a charge sheet or can be closure report in the form of summaries.”

“It is only the person lodging the complaint, or injured or aggrieved person who is entitled for hearing in the proceeding for dropping of a case. The intervener (ED) does not fall in any of the above categories,” the court added.

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The original complaint alleged that several district and cooperative banks gave out thousands of crores in loans to sugar cooperatives, spinning mills, and other processing units. At the time, MSC Bank controlled the credit that was made available to the cooperative sector in Maharashtra. However, a 2011 inquiry report by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) found that MSC Bank was in the negative by ₹144 crores.  

The report went on to indict the board of directors of MSC Bank for financial mismanagement leading to the number of non-performing assets increasing exponentially. It observed that this was mostly due to giving out loans to sugar cooperatives and spinning mills by violating several norms.

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