The Bombay High Court, through an interim order, has stayed an inquiry against Maharashtra’s former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and other accused in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank Ltd (MSCB) scam. Pawar and 76 others have been accused of being complicit in causing financial losses of over Rs 1,000 crore to the MSCB between 2007 and 2011. A bench led by Justice R M Savant was yesterday hearing a petition filed by Manikrao Patil, one of the accused in the case.
In the plea filed through his counsels Anil Sakhre and Joel Carlos, Patil had challenged an extended probe into the case and also a recent amendment brought about by the state government that increased the time limit for concluding an inquiry against cooperative societies. According to previous rules, an inquiry against a cooperative society was to be completed within two-and-a-half years from the date of order of a probe.
In the above case, the probe was first ordered in May 2014, but it could not be completed within the deadline. Patil approached the court arguing that the said probe stood abated in November 2016 and that it could not be resumed now. He sought that the court dismiss the amendment to the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act brought by the state, and as interim relief, the authorities be directed to stop further inquiry into the case. While the court will decide upon the amendment following a detailed hearing, it yesterday granted the interim relief on Patil’s petition, thus, granting a major reprieve to Pawar as well.