Mumbai: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said some district central cooperative banks (DCCBs) in Maharashtra would move the Supreme Court if the union government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) did not allow them to exchange the demonetised currency notes of Rs500 and Rs1000.
Pawar said here at a press conference that he had made this suggestion to those DCCBs which had collected currency notes of these denominations after the announcement of demonetisation on 8 November, 2016, but which have not been allowed to exchange those notes with the legal currency with their depositors. He said the DCCBs in Maharashtra and states like Kerala, Tamil Naidu, and Uttar Pradesh were the backbone of rural economy and that DCCBs in these states might have been affected as well.
Senior Congress party leader and lawyer P. Chidambaram had agreed to appear in the Supreme Court on behalf of the DCCBs, Pawar said, adding he would facilitate a meeting between the representatives of DCCBs and Chidambaram in Delhi when the budget session of the Parliament resumes.
The NCP president cited a letter dated 30 January, 2018, written by the RBI to the DCCBs. “This letter says that RBI has sought reply from the government of India on demonetized currency notes and the government of India’s reply is awaited. Pending reply, the RBI has asked the DCCBs to consider the amount that they have collected as deposits by their depositors after demonetisation as loss and show it as such in their books of account," Pawar said.
Raising questions over the RBI letter, Pawar said this was not what the prime minister had said when he announced the demonetisation policy. He said the currency notes of Rs500 and Rs1000 would become pieces of paper and those who deposited them into banks would get those exchanged. “Now, the government and RBI have allowed scheduled commercial banks and the nationalised banks to exchange notes they collected after demonetisation. Even the urban cooperative banks have been allowed after some immediate follow up. Why have they singled out some DCCBs only? The deposits that the DCCBs collected were not made by Nirav Modi but ordinary rural depositors. It is their money which is locked up," he said.
The NCP chief, a known patron of Maharashtra’s politically influential cooperative movement, said a set of DCCBs had written to him that an amount of Rs112 crore in the form of demonetized currency remained with them pending clarification from the government and RBI. “I don’t have figures for all the DCCBs in the state but some have sent me the data. The Pune DCCB has Rs22.25 crore locked, Sangli Rs14.72 crore, Kolhapur Rs25.28 crore, and Nashik DCCB Rs21.32 crore. There are other DCCBs which have smaller amounts locked up," Pawar said.