HC orders probe against ex-minister Dhabekar 

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Nov 2017 08:41:49

Staff Reporter,

Irregularities in auction of Balaji Co-operative Sugar factory 

IN a major setback to former Minister of State Babasaheb Dhabekar, Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Friday directed to complete probe against Dhabekar and 22 other directors who were responsible for causing alleged loss of Rs 60 crore in auctioning Balaji Co-operative Sugar factory.The High Court, while hearing a petition alleging massive bungling in auction of Balaji Sugar factory which claimed that it was auctioned at paltry Rs 5.50 crore to Nagpur based Vaibhav Liquor while its market value was Rs 7.50 crore, ordered the authorities to fix the responsibility of each of the directors responsible for this loss. The sugar factory was established at Risod on co-operative basis, but could not run for various reasons. The factory could not repay the loan taken from Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank and as a result was put to auction.

According to petitioner Pandurang Thakre who had filed the first petition in 2005, there was no transparency in auction process and charged the purchaser with depositing merely Rs 2 crore and then not honouring his commitment to pay remaining amount. The High Court had directed the SugarCommissioner to appoint a panel and conduct a probe. The probe panel found massive irregularities in auction process and concluded that there was bungling to the tune of Rs 60 crore in entire process since there was a distillery attached to sugar factory which was running quite successfully.

The sugar commissioner then appointed another committee and when fresh notices were issued to directors, they preferred an appeal before the Co-operation Minister. The appellate authority quashed reports of both panels and order directing recovery of Rs 60 crore from former directors. This order was challenged before the High Court. The High Court, while setting aside the order passed by Co-operation Minister, directed the authorities to go ahead with first probe report and fix the responsibility to recover Rs 60 crore from the directors. Adv Amol Deshpande appeared for the petitioner while Adv Priyadarshan Madkholkar represented the directors.