Kedar moves HC, challenges amendment to MCS Act

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 03 Nov 2017 09:14:08


Staff Reporter,

Saoner MLA is facing probe in Rs 152 cr NDCCB scam

Saoner MLA and former Chairman of Nagpur District Central Co-Operative Bank (NDCCB) Sunil Kedar has questioned the recent amendment to Maharashtra Co-Operative Societies Act and its retrospective application to pending enquiries like the one being conducted against him in Rs 152 cr NDCCB scam.

A division bench consisting of Justice Ravi Deshpande and Justice Arun Upadhyay issued notice to State Co-Operative department, Commissioner of Co-Operative Societies, Joint Registrar and Inquiry Officer seeking their reply by November 13.

According to Kedar, under section 88 of the MCS Act, there was a definite time-frame to conduct an enquiry, but by recent amendment the Joint Registrar had been empowered to extend period to complete the probe. By way of amendment, the State Government wants to enjoy the power of an indefinite period for conducting an enquiry and such an object would frustrate the MCS Act itself, Kedar claimed.

Kedar, then NCP MLA and Chairman of NDCCB was arrested by Nagpur police on May 3, 2002 following a complaint by District Auditor Bhausaheb Avsar on April 29 against him and five broking firms for allegedly duping NDCCB of Rs 150 crore. The broking firms were identified as Home Trade Limited, Giltedge Limited, Century Dealers (all from Mumbai), Syndicate Management Services, Ahmedabad and Indramanai Services, Kolkata. Kedar had earlier lodged complaint against these five broking firms for non-physical delivery of gilts worth Rs 150 crore. The probe was ordered in 2002 under section 88 of the MCS Act and the audit report came a decade later in which the special auditor Yashwant Bagde held Kedar squarely guilty for causing Rs 152 crore loss to NDCCB fixed the liability of Rs 129 crore upon him while his trusted deputy Ashok Chaudhari was slapped with Rs 25.91 crore liability.

It led to filing of one PIL by Omprakash Kamdi who demanded speedy trial languishing for over a decade and its completion in one year, probe against Kedar and others for causing huge loss to NDCCB after which the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court had directed the Co-Operative department to complete the enquiry within 6 months and also asked the trial court to complete the trial within one year. The trial in NDCCB scam is languishing for last 15 years.

However, Kedar and others filed a statutory appeal before then Co-Operation Minister Harshawardhan Patil who ordered a de novo enquiry. Dr Surendra Kharbade who was named probe officer, but could not complete the probe as his term expired. This was followed by lot of litigations by Kedar and his detractors due to which enquiry was delayed.
The High Court had already rejected Kedar’s petition seeking a direction to enquiry officer to examine the District Deputy Registrar and the nominee of the NABARD who are also the nominated directors of NDCCB on July 1, 2015 while the Supreme Court dismissed the SLP on the ground that both these nominated directors had no role to play in entire scam nor there any material to show their involvement.

According to Kedar, the de novo probe against him was going on under unamended section 88 and should have been over within two and half years, i.e. June 15, 2016 and retrospective application of amendment granting powers to Joint Registrar to grant period extension of six months was against the provisions of MCS.
Senior Counsel Subodh Dharmadhikari and Adv C B Dharmadhikari appeared for the petitioner.