Pune: A local court has accepted the police closure report seeking discharge of three former senior officials of Bank of Maharashtra in connection with a cheating case against city-based developer D S Kulkarni.
The Pune Police's economic offences wing (EOW) had in October last year filed the closure report, saying it did not find sufficient evidence against Bank of Maharashtra's then CEO and Managing Director Ravindra Marathe, Executive Director Rajendra Gupta and former CMD Sushil Muhnot, and sought their discharge.
Judge D G Murumkar of the EOW special court accepted the report on Monday.
However, the depositors, who had earlier registered the case against Kulkarni, said they would challenge the special court's decision in the Bombay High Court.
The Pune Police's EOW had in June last year arrested Marathe and other officials for allegedly misusing their official position for sanctioning loan to Kulkarni's construction firm - D S Kulkarni Developers Ltd (DSKDL).
The bank officials were later released on bail. The police had then said the officials allegedly colluded with DSKDL with a "dishonest and fraudulent intention" to sanction the loan.
Defence lawyer Harshad Nimbalkar on Monday said the court accepted the Pune Police's closure report after considering all aspects of the case.
He claimed the police arrested the bank officials for "no reason". According to Nimbalkar, a loan of Rs 600 crore was given to DSKDL by six banks which were part of a consortium.
In that consortium, the Bank of Maharashtra had given a loan of Rs 100 crore and it had been approved after due diligence, he said.
One investor of DSK in his complaint said he along with several other people invested money in DSKDL, but they did not get the returns, including the principal amount, and alleged that they were cheated. "So, there is no relation between the present case of cheating and the bank's role," the lawyer said.
The police had in May last year filed a 37,000-page charge sheet against Kulkarni and his wife in connection with the Rs 2,043.18 crore scam, accusing them of floating nine firms to siphon off funds collected from 33,000 investors and fixed-deposit (FD) holders.
According to the complaint filed with EOW by one of the depositors, investors put in lakhs of rupees in an FD scheme of the DSK Developers, but they neither received the interest nor the principal amount.
The EoW had booked the Kulkarnis under various sections of the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID) Act along with IPC sections 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 34 (common intention). According to a Bank of Maharashtra official, Marathe retired in November 2018 and Gupta's term ended last month.