Patil was aware of her bank mess, top defaulters her kin
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Four years ago, when the Reserve Bank of India cancelled the licence of the bank that UPA Presidential nominee Pratibha Patil set up in the name of women empowerment, waiving loans for her relatives wasn't the only irregularity it detected.
Official records, obtained by The Indian Express, show that after the RBI's inspection report, the Government nominee in the bank, Chief Administrator Amol Khairnar — who was also Deputy Registrar of Co-operatives — sent a show-cause notice to the bank manager asking him to explain several alleged violations of banking regulations by the Pratibha Mahila Sahakari Bank in Jalgaon.
These include: disbursal of "illegal" loans to relatives that exceeded even the bank's share capital; loans to relatives who then defaulted; loans to Patil's sugar mill which was recently sealed; recruitment of directors' relatives instead of SC/ST candidates as per Government norms.
Speaking from Jalgaon, P D Nikam, the liquidator appointed by the Government, told The Indian Express: "The fact that relatives of the founder chairperson (Pratibha Patil) were among those indiscriminately granted loans and that some illegal loan waivers were done has come up in our audit. All this is being looked into as part of the liquidation proceedings which may take two to three years."
When contacted, Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said: "This is a revival of stale allegations. Pratibha Patil was not linked to the bank in any official capacity since 1994."
However, documents with The Indian Express show that Pratibha Patil, the founder chairperson of the Bank who has also served as one of its directors, was very much involved with the bank's functioning in the run-up to its liquidation. Not only was she present at negotiations between the union and management until 2002, settlements prior to the bank's liquidation in 2003 were done in her presence.
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