NAGPUR: The financial loss of Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) from the controversial sale of Wainganga Cooperative Sugar Plant, Bhandara, has increased to Rs22.23 crore after it deposited Rs13.9 crore as dues of former plant workers.
TOI had reported in 2013 about the controversial sale of the plant and financial loss of MSBC in the case. The plant is in the news again after state BJP president Chandrakant Patil wrote a letter to home minister Amit Shah and demanded a probe through Enforcement Directorate (ED) into sale or auction of 30 cooperative sugar factories, including this plant. Vidarbha Realties Private Limited, which was later rechristened Wainganga Sugar and Power Limited, and a part of Manas Agro Industries and Infrastructure Limited (MAIIL), which was earlier known as Purti Group, had procured the plant on March 8, 2010, when city MP and Union minister Nitin Gadkari was chairman of the company.
Later, in a statement to media, Patil went on to say Gadkari claimed he procured two sugar plants at a cost more than the value decided by the bank. He added Gadkari also claimed that he did not take any loan.
An MSBC official said, “Bank had to deposit Rs13.9 crore with industrial court, Bhandara, in February this year as dues of former workers.”
One of the former employees said, “Salaries and other dues of around 700 workers were pending when the bank auctioned the plant. We won a case in industrial court, which was challenged by the bank in high court and later in Supreme Court, which did not change the judgement. When bank did not pay in stipulated time period, the collector initiated action, following which the bank deposited Rs13.9 crore in industrial court. We are yet to get the dues as bank filed review petition in SC.”
The dues were Rs8.57 crore till 2013, and had increased to Rs13.9 crore with interest.
In December 2013, the office of Mohadi tehsil had issued notice to MSCB directing to pay Rs2.97 crore as unearned income against auction of sprawling 66.53 hectare land of the plant. The land was owned by the state government and allotted on lease. MSCB reportedly auctioned the land without seeking permission from the collector. In reply, MSCB told officials that it had incurred a loss of Rs5.36 crore from auction of the plant.
Thus, the loss of the bank increased to Rs19.26 crore, including Rs5.36 crore loss in auction and payment of Rs13.9 crore dues of workers.
Bhandara district administration confirmed to TOI the bank is yet to pay dues of Rs2.97 crore, which will rise with interest. Thus, total loss of the bank will rise to Rs22.23 crore and even more from the sale of the plant.
MSCB officials said, “We have paid Rs13.9 crore to industrial court. Now, we have nothing to do with the case.”
As per TOI’s reports of 2013, MSCB sold the plant at Rs14.1 crore on March 8, 2010, under provisions of Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act (SARFAESI) Act. The valuation of Rs14.1 crore was decided in December 8, 2006, and not revised in 2010.
MSCB sold the plant through private treaty system, which does not involve a tendering or auction process. The property is sold at a price agreed upon by the buyer and the seller in private treaty system. The sale took place when Gadkari was chairman of Purti. He stepped down on August 27, 2011.
TOI had in 2013 also reported Wainganga Sugar and Power Limited had obtained loan of Rs34.50 crore (later extended to Rs55 crore) from a nationalized bank by mortgaging the same plant’s property along with other within 15 months of the sale.
The above news was originally posted on timesofindia.indiatimes.com