In Maharashtra, Opposition Questions 'Loan Waiver' Given To Minister

In 2015, the CBI filed a chargesheet against Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar and others in connection with a loan from two banks.

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Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar has denied all charges against him


Mumbai:  While Maharashtra has made headlines in recent times for its farmers having to go to unprecedented lengths to seek loan waivers from the government, it seems to be a different story for ministers. The opposition has alleged that Maharashtra's Labour Welfare Minister Sambhaji Nilangekar Patil has managed to get relief from a bank that essentially amounts to a loan waiver, a charge that the minister denies.

In 2015, the CBI filed a chargesheet against Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar and others in connection with a loan from two banks. According to the CBI chargesheet, the unpaid interest and loan amount had accumulated to Rs 76 crore and the loan got classified as a non-performing asset (NPA).

The CBI's charges included criminal conspiracy and cheating and the case was being heard in a court in Latur. Mr Nilangekar dismissed the charges as baseless and incorrect and maintained that a settlement was reached according to laid down banking procedures.

Now, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has raised questions over how a settlement could be reached when the minister has already been charged and the case has gone to court. They further say that the case has now slowed down due to political pressure as Mr Nilangekar is the Guardian Minister for Latur.

AAP spokesperson Preeti Sharma Menon told reporters: "The chief minister told us that Mr Nilangekar was merely a guarantor but the chief minister is the home minister, he would have known about the charge sheet. So the chief minister lied to us. He knew that the chargesheet clearly said that Sambhaji Patil is the owner of the company. He is the one who took the loan. He is the one who gave false property papers in his name. So after being fully aware that this gentleman had committed this scam he rewarded him as a minister."

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis defended the minister saying that the loan was settled as per RBI norms and policies and Sambhaji Patil was just a guarantor. "Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar was only a guarantor. The settlement was done as per RBI norms under RBI policy. He did not take the loan himself. It's not right to defame a young minister like this," the chief minister had said on the floor of the assembly. But the opposition refuses to buy this explanation.

Former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan told reporters, "People of Maharashtra are saying that with this Government, the corruption scandals are tumbling out. Chief minister is on spree to give clean chits. He is not accepting any incident of wrong doing. Nobody is been punished. Nobody is removed."

The Fadnavis government has found itself under attack from the opposition for giving clean chits to at least four ministers on the last day of the budget session of the Maharashtra assembly. But with the opposition refusing to accept the chief minister's explanation, this issue is likely to linger which is not good news for the government.


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