Scam in Co-op Banks: BJP demands ED probe

The BJP on Thursday charged state Congress women wing’s president Laxmi Hebbalkar with owning a coal mine in Indonesia from where the Karnataka Power Corporation was buying coal for its thermal power projects.

Speaking to reporters BJP MLAs S Suresh Kumar and C T Ravi said their party will write to Union home minister for a enforcement directorate (ED) inquiry into how Hebbalkar could invest in a Rs 5,000 crore company, considering she declared her annual income as Rs 5 lakh.

Readers would recall that a group of cooperative banks in Karnataka has given Lakshmi R Hebbalkar, President, Karnataka Mahila Congress a staggering loan of Rs. 215 crore against a total security of a miserly 50 acres of industrial land, reveals Deccan Herald.

The massive term loan was given to Harsha Sugars Pvt Ltd of which Lakshmi the Congress leaders is the MD.  Seven cooperative banks of Karnataka including the Karnataka State Cooperative Apex Bank are involved in this scam, which is yet to be divulged in totality.

When Indian Cooperative tried to call the Chairman and CEO of Karnataka State Cooperative Apex Bank he was told that they were not available in the office and were busy meeting Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

Media reports say the banks that have provided loans include South Canara District Central Co-operative Bank Kodialbail, Mangaluru (Rs 30 crore), The Bajpe Vyavasaya Seva Sahakari Bank, Bajpe, Dakshina Kannada (Rs 20 crore), The Bagalkot District Central Co-operative Bank of Bagalkot (Rs 40 crore), The Bijapur District Central Co-operative Bank of Solapur (Rs 25 crore), The Tumkur District Central Co-operative Bank, Tumakuru (Rs 25 crore) and The Kanara District Central Co-operative Bank Ltd in Sirsi Uttara Kannada district (Rs 25 crore).

Police officials say the matter has been referred to the CID following a communication from the state government.

Meanwhile, the IT had said non-existent persons were made shareholders and investors in one of the sugar companies and that there were cash deposits in ‘benami’ accounts in primary cooperative societies.

Harsha Sugars directors had appointed Lakshmi and Lakshmi’s brother to approach the leader bank (Apex Bank) and other banks, seeking sanction of Rs 215 crore loan to set up 5,000 TCD sugar plant with 30 MW co-gen power plant at survey number 411 at Savadatti village in Belagavi district.

Sources say CID officials have obtained the files related to the loan sanctioned to the Harsha Sugars. But cynics say being in the control of State Congress rule which committed the scam in the first place, CID would not be able to do much.

Reacting to the expose, NAFSCOB President Dileepbhai Sanghani said “I have not heard about this news but if it has happened the state govt should take necessary action against the accused. I hope, the image of the cooperative sector would be spared the damage”.

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