Minister Kedar in trouble, HC directs to submit progress of trial on Nagpur Coop bank scam

Sunil Kedar

Nagpur : The senior Congress leader and the cabinet minister Sunil Kedar is now in trouble after the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Monday directed the designated court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate to submit the progress of the trial of multi-core security scam of Nagpur District Central Cooperative Bank. Kedar, who was NDCC Bank chairman when the Rs 152-crore scam hit the bank, is prime accused in this case.

Kedar was arrested for allegedly misusing his powers by allowing a private company M/s Home Trade to use the bank’s funds to invest and trade in government securities during the period. The whole affair was alleged to be in blatant violation of the rules.

An amount of around Rs 152-crore supposed to have been invested in securities was never returned by Home Trade. Apparently it just disappeared, the search for it still continues. Framing of charges is formally documenting the allegations against the accused after which the evidence was recorded. The High Court on Monday also noted that following new SoPs issued, the designated court of ACJM SR Totla had started recording of testimony of the witness on September 19 and cross-examination is slated on September 24. The trial itself started in November 2019 following a stern order passed by the High Court, lamenting about inordinate and unjustified delay of 17 years.

A division bench of the high court, consisting of Justice Atul Chandurkar and Justice NB Suryawanshi while hearing an application moved by original petitioner Omprakash Kamdi and others seeking resumption of trial which came to grind halt due to corona pandemic, also allowed respondents including Animal Husbandry Minister Sunil Kedar to file their response.

Since the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) SR Totla has been named as designated court and majority of prosecution witnesses have deposed, using social security norms and ensuring proper sanitisation, the trial could be re-started and completed, the applicant’s counsel Adv Shreerang Bhandarkar claimed. Since this is the designated court entrusted with this single matter, it can be easily heard following all SoPs, he claimed.

The trial court in November 2019 had finalised charges of criminal breach of trust, misappropriation, forgery, criminal conspiracy in NDCCB scam. Then Saoner MLA Sunil Kedar, who is now a cabinet minister and eight others have been made accused in this case and framed charged under sections 406, 409, 468, 471, 120-B and 34 of IPC against them.

Kedar was the chairman of NDCCB when the scam took place in 2002. Among the other accused include: the stock broker Ketan Seth (Mumbai) and the former general manager, KD Chaudhari.