Do you want to save NDCCB scamsters? High Court’s tough poser to State Govt

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 05 May 2017 09:53:39

Staff Reporter,

Appoint ex-district judge by Friday or face music, warns High Court

High Court slams Government for wishy-washy stand on NDCCB scam probe

Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Thursday lambasted State Government for its shifting stance in Rs 152 crore Gilt scam of Nagpur District Central Co-operative Bank (NDCCB) scam and reluctance to appoint one of the three short-listed former district judges. Do you want to give a clean chit to scamsters? The High Court angrily asked while deploring the Government for not finalising the name of probe officer. Tell us the name of probe officer by Friday or else we will be constrained, the High Court warned.

During last hearing the State Government had forwarded names of three former district judges of which consent of two was obtained while one ex-judge’s consent was on way. But on Thursday, Government Pleader Bharti Dangre forwarded name of Kishor Deshpande, a former district judge. Taken aback by this name, a division bench consisting of Justice Bhushan Gavai and Justice Atul Chandurkar took the authorities to task for just buying time and showing scant regard to complete the probe. If you want to save the accused persons, then why to go ahead with farcical probe, the High Court asked while giving a tongue lashing to authorities and wondering whether this is example of Clean Governance.

The decision to re-appoint Adv Surendra Kharbade as Enquiry Officer to probe NDCCB scam, came under fire before the High Court two weeks ago. Thereafter, the authorities contacted at least 10 judicial officers of the rank of District Judges and three of them had consented to conduct the probe. Adv Akshay Naik appearing for respondent-Saoner MLA Sunil Kedar, had also objected to continuation of Kharbade and claimed that then Co-operation Minister Harshawardhan Patil had ordered de novo probe and the new enquiry officer can easily take over the probe and proceed ahead.

Omprakash Kamdi, in his PIL had 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 14 years and even charges have not been framed. The Supreme Court has already set a time-frame of one year for all criminal prosecutions initiated against elected representatives.

The earlier special auditor had indicted Kedar for causing loss to NDCCB and had directed him to pay Rs 129.31 crore with interest to Bank. He had challenged the order before then co-operation Minister Harshawardhan Patil who had ordered a de novo inquiry. A month ago, the Supreme Court had dismissed the special leave petition filed by Saoner MLA Sunil Kedar who was Chairman of Nagpur District Central Co-operative Bank when it was rocked by Rs 152 crore Gilt scam.

Thereafter, the PIL petitioner Omprakash Kamdi moved an application seeking completion of probe within one month. The applicant claimed that Kedar tried to delay the probe by raising very flimsy objections and both High Court and Supreme Court have rejected this challenge. Adv Shreerang Bhandarkar appeared for the petitioner. GP Bharti Dangre (State), Adv Akshay Naik (Kedar), Adv Darshan Siras (NDCCB officer) represented the respondents.