Congress in Chhattisgarh on Thursday demanded a CBI inquiry into an alleged multi-crore cooperative bank scam of 2006 and met Governor Shekhar Dutt in this regard.
They also demanded to make Chief Minister Raman Singh and his four Cabinet ministers as co-accused in the case.
“A delegation of Congress leaders, led by Union Minister and party’s state unit chief Charandas Mahant, submitted a memorandum to Governor today seeking a CBI probe into the Indira Priyadarshini Mahila Nagarik Sahkari bank scam,” party spokesperson Shailesh Nitin Trivedi said.
“We have also demanded to make CM Raman Singh, his four ministers — Brijmohan Agrawal, Amar Agrawal, Ramvichar Netam and Rajesh Munat — co-accused for their alleged involvement in the scam, based on the statements made by the prime accused and then bank manager Umesh Sinha, during his narco-analysis test,” Mr. Trivedi said.
The party demanded that the government should recover Rs. one crore from each of the 22 defaulters, whom the bank had given loan.
The delegation informed the Governor that the narco-analysis CD of Umesh Sinha which it had disclosed in the past and the one obtained from the police under RTI (right to information) were same.
After this there is no reason for delay in action against the CM and the four ministers, Mr. Trivedi claimed.
Expressing ire over police for allegedly not submitting the CD before court, the delegation urged the Governor to assign the case to CBI for further probe.
The Opposition Congress had a couple of months back released a CD and transcripts of a narco-analysis test conducted on then bank’s manager Umesh Sinha in which he had purportedly named Chief Minister Raman Singh and four of his ministers as beneficiaries in the seven-year-old scam.
The CD purportedly showed Umesh Sinha making a statement during narco-analysis that Rs. 1 crore was given to each top ruling party politicians at the behest of then chairperson of the bank, Rita Tiwari.
However, few days after the Congress disclosed the CD and transcripts of narco-analysis of Mr. Sinha, Rita Tiwari had denied allegations that she had paid money to the chief minister and his cabinet ministers, after the bank went bust in 2006.
Ms. Tiwari, who is out on bail after her arrest in connection with the case, had then told reporters that, “The statement of Umesh Sinha (the then bank manager) I saw in the media is totally wrong. Neither I had asked him to pay money to anyone nor he had given money to anyone.”
Last month, Umesh Sinha had also retracted from his statement and denied paying money to the chief minister and the ruling party ministers.
“I have not made money transactions with anyone. I am not at all under pressure or being threatened by anyone,” he had told reporters here.
Mr. Sinha had said that he was in a sub-conscious state during narco-analysis test and did not know anything he had spoken at that time.
However, later Congress had claimed that Mr. Sinha made a U-turn from his statement allegedly under pressure.
The ministers of ruling BJP had earlier rejected the allegations, saying that Congress party has a tradition of releasing CDs on any “fake” issue as the polls come closer.
Around Rs 54 crore were allegedly embezzled in the Indira Priyadarshini bank from 2003, till the fraud came to light in 2006.
Subsequently, Mr. Sinha and directors of the cooperative bank were arrested. Later, Mr. Sinha was released on bail.