Zuwarkar's house, bank raided for forgery

| 10 May 2001 22:53 IST

Somnath Zuwarkar, yet another former Congress minister and chairman of the Goa State Co-operative Bank Ltd, is in the dock now with the bank as well as his residence being raided by the police in the alleged forgery case worth Rs seven crore.

Moving into action suddenly in the morning simultaneously at six different places, the Panaji police recovered documents relating to alleged illegal deals of the state apex bank, based on a complaint filed by three directors of the bank.

"I am the victim of political vendetta of chief minister Manohar Parrikar. I am prepared to resign if found involved into the illegal deals", said Zuwarkar, while reacting to the police action.

Parrikar however admitted of having given a go ahead to the police since he could not watch the illegalities with open eyes when the apex bank of the state co-operative movement was being misused for fraudulent financial deals.

Rajkumar Desai, Ramchandra Mule and Vinayak Naik, the three directors have filed a complaint, alleging that Zuwarkar took unilateral decisions without approval of the board by releasing loan to defaulters, one-time settlement and rescheduling of loans.

Denying all the charges, the former minister claimed that his actions even had the approval of the Registrar of Co-operative Society and the RBI. "I will take legal action against these directors for tarnishing image of the bank", he said angrily.

The police have registered a complaint against him under prevention of corruption act as well as charges of cheating, forgery, fraud and breach of trust. Zuwarkar has also served as the co-operation minister during the Congress regime in the past.

A few days ago, Parrikar had alleged that Zuwarkar had offered to spend around Rs two crore to engineer defections within the BJP to topple his government. The Congressman has however denied the allegation.

Having 67 branches including nine in Daman and Diu, the multi-state co-operative bank claims to have made profits of Rs 9.72 crore last year, showing deposits of Rs 435 crore against disbursement figure at around Rs 300 crore.

Though CEO C N Salkar now claims that the bank recovery has gone up to 68 per cent, his official statement on 31 March states that the bank is virtually on the verge of collapse as recovery proceedings have fallen down to 63 per cent.

Once it goes below 60 per cent, the NABARD stops refinancing the co-operative banks while it also affects the schedule status of the bank. "But our position has improved in last one month", claims Salkar.

Zuwarkar is the fifth Congress leader facing a police complaint. Prior to him, Dayanand Narvekar is facing inquiry into the cricket bogus ticket scam, Mauvin Godinho in power rebate case, Luizinho Faleiro's wife in land scam and GPCC chief Nirmala Sawant in sending her secretary to bribe the BJP MLA for toppling the government.

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