Ex-minister Dama Rout alleges Rs 800 crore Cooperative Bank loan scam
Bhubaneswar: After creating a flutter in Odisha politics with sapling and Omfed scams allegations, former Cooperation Minister Damodar Rout on Saturday hinted at another scam in Cooperative bank loans. The senior BJD leader pegged the scam to be around Rs 700 crore to Rs 800 crore.
Rout said that while 60% loan from the banks was issued for non-agricultural purposes, the rest 40% remained only on pen and paper.
He said that the then Managing Director Tusharkanti Panda had written to the Registrar for an inquiry into the alleged scam but it couldn’t be initiated due to the ‘godfather’.
Moreover, the accused official’s term was extended twice with the first term being approved by him.
“Though I had signed the file for extension of the term of the accused official, I opposed and ordered an investigation after I came to know such irregularities. But the registrar didn’t paid any heed to as the godfather had told him not to listen to anyone,” said Rout.
Rout further said that Odisha government had sanctioned Rs 37 crore for computerisation of all the cooperative societies. Computers were purchased and sent to all the societies but around 700 societies lack buildings and electricity connections.
Meanwhile, Cooperation Minister Surya Narayan Patro refuted Rout’s allegations of loan being sanctioned for non-agricultural purposes. He said that loans are now being sanctioned through Joint Liability Groups and so, there is no space for any irregularity.
“If Damodar Rout provides any evidence, an investigation will be ordered,” said Patro.
However, Patro refused to comment on the ‘godfather’ issue.