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Ex-MLA Pravin Darekar booked for Rs 123 crore fraud

Pravin Darekar

Mumbai: BJP leader and former MLA Pravin Darekar, who is also chairman of Mumbai District Central Co-operative Bank Ltd, has been booked for allegedly causing a loss of Rs 123 crore to the bank since 1998 by fraud and embezzlement of funds, police said.

The FIR was registered on friday against Darekar and others, including former chairman of the bank Shivaji Nalawade, officer Prakash Shirwadkar, on a complaint of an advocate Vivekanand Gupta.

Gupta, who is also Mumbai BJP secretary, lodged a complaint that Darekar and other office-bearers have misused their positions in the bank since 1998 and caused a loss of Rs 123 crore to the financial institution.

Deputy Police Commissioner Dhananjay Kulkarni said after conducting an inquiry, the FIR was registered at MRA Marg police station yesterday under IPC sections 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent), 465 (punishment for forgery), 468 (Forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged 1[document or electronic record]) and 120 (B) (punishment of criminal conspiracy).

The investigation was taken over by the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police, which specialised in probing embezzlement cases.

Darekar was earlier a member of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). However, he joined BJP after losing the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly polls.

Complainant Gupta accused the bank officials of making risky investments and carrying out many illegal activities that resulted in a loss of Rs 123 crore to the bank and the money was routed for the benefits of the accused, police said.

Gupta claimed he had lodged the first written complaint with the police in January and then in August last year, following which an inquiry was initiated in the matter.

The FIR was registered as the inquiry suggested that there was prima facie a criminal case, police said.

Meanwhile, Darekar said the case was the outcome of “political conspiracy” against him with an eye on the bank elections to be held on May 9.

“I have already given a statement to EOW in this regard,” Darekar said.

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