Mumbai: Rift within ruling coalition on the issue of dissolving the board of Maharashtra State Cooperative (MSC) Bank is widening as both Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) exchanging charges against each other for dissolving the bank. While NCP sees dissolving of bank as part of larger conspiracy by Congress to defame NCP and Pawar family, Congress pleads its innocence and claims; there is no need to read any ulterior motives in RBI’s action.
Speaking with Mint, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar said, there is definitely a conspiracy behind this move and it will get exposed soon. It is highly impossible that, decision about dissolving such a large bank’s board is taken by RBI without consulting union finance ministry and state’s chief minister Prithviraj Chavan. And if they were consulted why as alliance partner we were not kept in loop.
Speaking with media persons in Satata (district headquarters in Western Maharashtra) union agriculture minister and NCP president Sharad Pawar called state Congress president Manikrao Thakre ignorant and one can only expect such foolish comments when you have uninformed person, occupying important posts. Thakare earlier speaking with one Marathi news channel tried to shift the blame on agriculture ministry and Pawar by saying, RBI acted on the report of National Bank for Agricultural and Rural
Development (NABARD) which is administratively controlled by the agriculture ministry. Acting on NABARD’s audit report of the MSC Bank for financial year 2009-10, RBI on Friday, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued the orders of dissolving the board of MSC bank. NABARD report highlighted bank’s net worth in year 2009-10 has become negative to the tune of Rs.140 crore and it’s non performing assets (NPA) were as high as 30% of bank’s total advances.
RBI’s move is considered as a major setback to NCP as bank is controlled by Ajit Pawar for last decade or so. Out of 44-member board of the Bank 24 members belong to NCP including Pawar Junior.
A senior NCP leader said on condition of anonymity that, since last year an attempt is being made by certain section of Congress leadership to target NCP and Pawar family. It started with IPL and went on with inflation of food items, Radia tapes, 2G scam, Lavasa hill station, some land deals in Pune and now with dissolving the MSC Bank’s board.
However one Congress minister in the state cabinet from Western Maharashtra said, “These are all empty threats by Congress and we are confident they will not go to the extreme of snapping the ties as they have many things to cover up and not us”.
Meanwhile speaking with media persons in Mumbai Thakare denied charges that, there is any conspiracy by Congress high command to target NCP or Pawar family and if Pawar has any grievances, they can be sorted out through dialogue
When contacted chairman of dissolved board of bank NCP’s Manik Patil said, we are exploring all options including legal options to challenge RBI’s decision. He also claimed, bank had given detailed reply to objections raised by NABARD in its audit report to RBI and asked for guidance from RBI but instead of getting guidance, action of board getting dissolved was taken by RBI.