Nagpur: The Supreme Court lifted a stay in the trial of Rs 150 crore scam at Nagpur District Central Cooperative Bank (NDCCB), where state animal husbandry, dairy development, sports and youth welfare minister Sunil Kedar is the prime accused.
While adjourning the hearing till July 22, the top court, however, restrained the judge from the delivering judgement. The trial of the scam has been pending for nearly two decades allegedly on account of involvement of high-profile names.
On September 24 last year, the additional chief judicial magistrate (CJM) in the city had fixed the case (CC No. 147/2002) for final arguments from September 28. It was challenged by accused persons in the apex court, which stayed the trial on October 5 last year.
“In view of this factual position, the order of October 5 needs modification. It is modified by permitting the trial court to complete the hearing of arguments. However, the judgment shall not be delivered,” Justice Abhay Oka said.
Hearing the petition of Ketan Seth, director of broking firm Home Trade, the SC judge said he finds the orders passed from time to time that only one proceeding (CC No. 147/2022) has been stayed by the court.
“While making it clear that the issue of locus of the intervener is required to be decided, I have heard the senior counsel representing him. It is pointed out by his counsel that in the case (in Nagpur court), the evidence has been recorded and final arguments on the side of prosecution are completed,” he said.
Earlier on December 23, 2014, directives were issued by the Nagpur bench of expediting the hearing in this high-profile case, but nothing moved further. Again, on March 14, 2019, a bench led by Justice Bhushan Gavai issued similar orders, but hardly anything progressed except CJM conducting a couple of hearings and the trial lingered for nearly two decades.
The scam was surfaced in 2002, after the NDCCB lost Rs125 crore in government securities (G-Secs) scandal, where Kedar was accused of blatantly flouting rules to invest bank funds, which were routed through investment firm — M/s Home Trade Securities, owned by main accused Sanjay Agrawal. The firm neither bought securities nor paid back money.
Subsequently, offences were lodged against Kedar and 11 others for Rs125 crore scam in 2002. They included — former general manager KD Chaudhari, then chief accountant Suresh Peshkar, Mahendra Agrawal, Shreeprakash Poddar, Subodh Bhandari, Kanan Mewawala, Nandkishor Trivedi, Amit Verma and Seth from Mumbai.
All of them were charged under sections 406, 409, 468, 471, 120-B and 34 of IPC. The amount has now gone over Rs150 crore due to accumulating interests over one and half decades.