Tuesday, September 28, 2021
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“Is judiciary in hurry to relieve Marathe?”

Astring of financial frauds and scams being exposed across the country in last few months has become the new black hole in the Indian banking system that has incurred a loss of nearly $3 billion to the Indian economy. In the list of perpetrators that includes liquor baron Vijay Mallya, jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, Rotomac’s Vikram Kothari and Simbhaoli Sugars, Pune-based real estate (DSK) developer DS Kulkarni is another name lodged in Rs 2,043 crore bank loot scam that involves Pune-headquartered Bank of Maharashtra.

Besides Kulkarni, his wife Hemanti has also been arrested on charges of hoodwinking over 4,000 investors and ‘diverting bank loans to the tune of thousand crores’ as per the investigative officials. On the report of the police, around 1,500 complaints were lodged against the DSK Group.

With a swift action mode, Pune’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) last week has also arrested Ravindra P. Marathe, the Chairman and Managing Director of Bank of Maharashtra for allegedly exploiting his powers and extending huge amount of loans to Pune’s DSK Group. The EOW has also arrested BoM’s Executive Director Rajendra K. Gupta, Zonal Manager Nityanand Deshpande from Ahmedabad and former CMD Sushil Muhnot from Jaipur. All of the arrested officials are booked under various sections of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Financial Expert Sanjeev Chandorkar expressed that a reform in the Indian banking sector is the need of the hour while former High Court judge BG Kolse Patil said, “The entire system is totally corrupted in this nation. Investigation agencies are corrupted. Implementation of stringent laws in such financial fraud cases is not proper.”

However, the word of words started soon after the reports of Marathe likely to get bail on Monday morning unrolled. The report objecting the bail to Bank of Maharashtra’s CMD Marathe in the Pune District Court of Hon’ble Judge Sardesai addressed Hon’ble Chief Justice and Hon’ble Registrar General of Bombay HC.

The report further revealed that though as per Pune police, Marathe was remanded to the Police Custody, his fresh bail plea filed on June 23, 2018, at 5.40 p.m. mentioned him being into the Magistrate Custody. It has also questioned Marathe’s hospital admission on the next day after his arrest when he complained of chest pain and high blood pressure. Moreover, the report says there were no medical reports issued by any doctor of the government hospital and he was later shifted to a private hospital without any medical report.

“Hon’ble Judge Sardesai has asked the Advocate representing Marathe that only if the bail is pleaded, he will be able to grant it. Hon’ble Judge asked for State’s NOC to grant the bail to Marathe,” the report mentioned.

“The court is working on holidays and hearing this case before courts open officially. The bail application was not registered and cannot be traced online but the hearing was conducted by the Hon’ble Judge Sardesai. If the courts function in such doubtful manner and by not following the procedure, the common man will lose faith in Judiciary. Hon’ble Sardesai should be suspended,” it added.

Advocate Shrikant Shivade commented, “The government prosecutor for this case was not present during the hearing on June 23. Allegations against DSK cannot name it ‘a scam’ as it is nowhere close to financial frauds and Bank of Maharashtra is not involved in any frauds too. The court will decide on his bail plea on June 26. The arrest of Ravindra P. Marathe is misleading. He is not involved in any fraudulence. We can’t comment on anything more in this case right now.”

The urgency to save fraudulent people from law and order rightfully catches the eyeballs as in the last two years and especially in the last few months, the Indian economy has seen enough of banking frauds. However, the Indian Banks’ Association condemned the arrests and said that the bankers were not directly involved in sanctioning or repayment of deposits by firms.

Some other bank cases against multi-national bank officials that are under scanner include the arrest of IDBI Bank chairman Yogesh Aggarwal in connection with the Vijay Mallya case to probe against two former IDBI executives in Rs 600 crore loan to C. Sivasankaran’s firms and former Allahabad Bank CEO Usha Ananthasubramanian in the Nirav Modi case.

Taxpayers’ money is getting looted and still, the laws are not strict enough against the same. Going by the memes and cartoons on such banking frauds, the Indian government must not believe that few highly publicised arrests will be enough to convince the taxpayers about their strictness countering such frauds. It’s high time that both the government and the Reserve Bank of India must pull their socks up.

 

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