Delhi HC to hear Anshu Prakash's plea against Assembly notice; sahkari bank scam resurfaces in AAP vs chief secretary tussle

The Delhi High Court has agreed to hear a plea by Delhi chief secretary Anshu Prakash, challenging a notice issued against him by the Delhi Assembly for his non-appearance before the Questions and Reference Committee, which is examining an alleged Rs 100 crore scam in the Delhi Nagrik Sahkari Bank Ltd (DNSBL) among other things, CNN-News18 reported.

The Assembly had asked the Delhi chief secretary to appear before it on 21 February (a day after Delhi bureaucrats announced their boycott of all meetings called by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his ministers) with regards to investigations into the DNSBL fraud cases. However, Prakash had failed to turn up for the meeting.

The meeting was scheduled just a day after Prakash filed a police complaint against two AAP MLAs for allegedly physically assaulting him during a meeting at Kejriwal's residence. The incident had soured the already bitter relations between the Delhi govt and the officials.

File image of Delhi chief secretary Anshu Prakash. PTI

File image of Delhi chief secretary Anshu Prakash. PTI

On Sunday, AAP spokesperson, Bharadwaj, who is heading the Assembly committee, alleged that the chief secretary was using the "police complaint" which the latter filed on 20 February against the two AAP MLAs, as a shield to divert attention from the (DNSBL) scam.

Bharadwaj also accused Prakash of distorting facts in "his latest petition filed in the Delhi High Court challenging a breach of privilege notice served on him".

What is the DNSBL fraud case?

According to an Indian Express report, DNSBL is accused of issuing fraudulent loans worth Rs 100 crore through forged documents and spending lakhs on 'laddoos' during Diwali. The case of fraudulent loans first came to light in 2013, when members of the bank reportedly filed a complaint with the Registrar of Cooperative Societies alleging fraudulent loans in connivance with the directors.

The matter was then investigated by the Reserve Bank of India, which confirmed fraudulent loans in the Lajpat Nagar branch of the bank.

A 2015 inquiry by PC Jain, Special Secretary, General Administrative Department, as reported by The Indian Express, had found that "NPAs of three branches — Lajpat Nagar, Badarpur and Karawal Nagar — were 'abnormally high'."

The matter came to light in the Assembly in January 2017 when an AAP MLA raised the question in the House. The matter was then referred to the Questions and Reference Committee and to an Assembly committee headed by Bharadwaj for further investigation.

How is Prakash connected to the fraud case

In 2017, the committee had reportedly notified then Delhi chief secretary MM Kutty to appear before it in order to answer some questions in the matter and action taken in the case. Kutty, however, had evaded appearing before the committee by seeking a stay from the Delhi High Court.

Prakash succeeded Kutty as the Delhi Chief Secretary in December 2017, but it seems things haven't changed much between Delhi government and the bureaucrats. Turns out, similar proceedings were also initiated against Kutty in the same matter.

With inputs from agencies

Published Date: Mar 05, 2018 14:11 PM | Updated Date: Mar 05, 2018 14:25 PM

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