Vigilance raids JCCB branches on complaints of financial irregularities

Fraud unearthed in faking petitioner to challenge Govt probes

Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU, Oct 5: Acting on specific complaints of financial irregularities in Jammu Central Cooperative Bank (JCCB), Vigilance Organization Jammu conducted simultaneous raids in some branches of the bank in three separate districts and seized relevant records besides unearthing a major fraud of faking petitioner to challenge Government probes.
In the late evening swoop, separate Vigilance teams raided JCCB branches at Kotranka in Rajouri, Surankote in Poonch and Pouni in Reasi districts, where the relevant banking record was seized and statements of the staff members were recorded in presence of independent witnesses.
According to Dr Anuradha Gupta – Director Horticulture, who is presently Chairperson of the Government nominated Board of Directors, JCCB, the exercise was conducted by joint teams of the bank and Vigilance Organization to seize the required record, which could have been damaged by some elements to destroy the documentary evidences of alleged financial irregularities in the bank.
“The teams seized the record of these branches related to undue waiver of huge amounts under One Time Settlement (OTS) scheme for further investigation into the complaints in this regard,” she told the Excelsior and added that Board actively cooperated with the investigating agency for this joint exercise so that the truth is brought out and the investors’ hard earned money is also safeguarded.
Meanwhile, in a significant development during the raid in Pouni branch, sources disclosed that the Vigilance team also unearthed a big fraud by then JCCB authorities, who were allegedly faking a petitioner in the court of law to challenge Government enquiries into alleged irregularities in the bank without any knowledge of the said person.
While elaborating, sources said  that  person namely Mohan Lal Sharma of Pouni, who was a former member in the Board of  Directors of the bank,  told the visiting Vigilance  team that he was not aware of  some petitions on his name, filed in the court of law challenging Government orders of enquiries into the alleged backdoor appointments in the JCCB.
Mohan Lal was twice a member in the elected Board of Director from 2011 to 2013 and then 2014 to 2017.  There were four petitions; OWP1089/2012 & CMA No. 1521/2012, OWP 195/2013, OWP 1207/2013 and OWP 1550/2017, filed on his name in the J&K  High Court.
While in first three petitions, High Court has granted stay against Government orders to probe backdoor appointments in JCCB, the fourth petition challenging Vigilance verification into OTS scam was purportedly not heard by Justice B S Walia.
However, Mohan Lal told the Vigilance team that he was not aware of such petitions as well as his name being used as a petitioner in the same. He also claimed that he had not even visited the High Court in his life.
On this disclosure of Mohan Lal, the Vigilance team was quick enough to record his statement in front of the Tehsildar for necessary action in this regard, sources said.
The Vigilance sleuths in coordination with special teams of officers, deputed by the nominated Board of Administrators of JCCB, conducted surprise raids following specific complaints that in the year 2015-16, One Time Settlement (OTS) scheme  was misutilized by the officers at the helm of affairs at that time to extend undue benefits to individuals and Primary Agricultural Credit Societies so that they could be made eligible for participation in the elections to the Board of Management of the bank.
It was also brought to the notice of the present Board of Administrators that certain elements within the bank were resisting the sharing of information with the Vigilance Organization.
Pertinent to mention that the elections to the Board of Management of the Bank are going to be held shortly and it was very important that possibilities of any fraud for getting benefits in elections are ruled out on time.
The present Board, nominated by the Government had taken over control of JCCB in May this year and  launched a massive  drive resulting into the recovery of more than Rs one and half crores of chronic NPAs.