NABARD was forced to issue statement, suppress RTI reply: Cong

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New Delhi, June 23 (PTI): The Congress today alleged that NABARD was “forced” to issue a statement to “suppress” its own RTI reply that notes worth over Rs 745 crore were deposited in a cooperative bank, where BJP chief Amit Shah is a director, within five days of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation announcement.

The Congress asked Prime Minister Modi to conduct an inquiry into the matter. The Congress had yesterday demanded a probe into reports that notes worth Rs 745.58 crore were deposited in Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank within five days of demonetisation in 2016.

However, just before the Congress made the demand, NABARD had issued a statement, saying that the average deposit amount in the Ahmedabad DCCB was Rs 46,795 per account holder, which is lower than the average per depositor in 18 DCCBs of Gujarat.

NABARD, or National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, is the country’s apex financing agency for institutions that promote rural development. The BJP had cited the NABARD statement to say that the Ahmedabad DCCB was one of the biggest in the country and that it was not out of the ordinary for it to collect such an amount.

“NABARD was forced to answer and issue a statement,” Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said.

“NABARD’s independence was attacked yesterday,” he charged. Finance Minister Piyush Goyal “forced” NABARD to issue a press statement,” Khera claimed in a statement.

He said far from addressing the core allegation, the release looked like a BJP statement embedded on NABARD’s website as it only sought to defend Amit Shah.

In its own Right to Information findings, NABARD said that in 11 district cooperative banks in Gujarat, as much as Rs 3,118 crore worth of old notes were deposited within the five days after demonetisation, he said.

He said there was need to know the “compulsion” that made NABARD “suppress”  its own RTI reply.

“Our senior leaders who used to say that demonetisation is a scam have been proven right. You cannot hide the truth, it will come out and it is coming out,” he said.

Piyush Goyal made an effort to save Amit Shah but failed, he said. “We also ask ‘Blog Minister’ Arun Jaitley ji to tell us how did the scam happen in Amit Shah ji’s banks,” he said.

During the press briefing, Khera also highlighted another alleged 2,000-crore bank fraud in Maharashtra. “Nobody has forgotten Vijay Mallya, Lalit Modi, Chhota Modi, Mehul Chowksi, Jatin Mehta, Amit Bhatnagar, and another scam comes along,” he said.

He said the scam involved Pune’s D S Kulkarni, the managing director of the DSK group, who had joined the BJP in 2014 in Union minister Rajnath Singh’s presence.

RTI activists have brought to light how the DSK group borrowed money from banks and other financial organisations in the last few years and then did not return the amount.

The DSK group owes almost Rs 1,500 crore in outstanding loans to banks and financial organisations and its total liabilities total Rs 5,400 crore, he claimed.

This was the 12th bank scam that has come to light this year, adding up to Rs 63,036 crore, Khera claimed.

Khera said under the BJP-led government the country’s institutions, including the media, worked in fear.

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