NAGPUR: A Nagpur-based RTI activist has petitioned the Enforcement Directorate to launch a probe against Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for allegedly using his position to help improve the business of a private bank where his wife holds a top corporate post.
Activist Mohnish J. Jabalpure shot off the letter to the ED in Nagpur, claiming that the government has directed officials of the police department to transfer the salary accounts of all its employees and other departments to private sector Axis Bank.
While this has benefited Axis Bank, it has reportedly caused a huge loss to the nationalised banks which were handling such salary accounts till then, he contended.
"I have already filed a public interest litigation in Bombay High Court (Nagpur bench) in this regard which is expected to come up for hearing on Thursday (August 29). Earlier, I have written letters to the Chief Secretary but no action was taken in the matter," Jabalpure told IANS.
In his petition, Jabalpure has accused Fadnavis - whose wife Amruta holds a top-level position in Axis Bank - of arbitrarily directing the salary accounts of lakhs of policemen of the state to be transferred to Axis Bank, vide a circular on May 11, 2017.
A professional banker, Amruta Fadnavis, 40, is currently Axis Bank's Vice-President and Corporate Head for West India.
A singer and much sought-after socialite, she had also represented India at the National Prayer Breakfast hosted by US President Donald Trump in 2017.
Previously, the salary accounts were handled by public sector State Bank of India (SBI), and Jabalpure claimed that this shift has resulted in huge losses to the state exchequer and the nation.
Through RTI replies to Jabalpure, it came to light that the salary accounts would be transferred to Axis Bank with huge benefits to the account-holders, including accident claim of Rs 30 lakh, Rs 1 lakh for children studying below Class 12, Rs 5 lakh for partially-handicapped personnel and Rs 30 lakh for fully-handicapped personnel, besides Rs 1 crore insurance if an air ticket is purchased through Axis Bank debit card.
Jabapure, however, said the state government had not replied to his query whether any tenders were floated and other banks asked to provide similar benefits, and wondered why the Police Department couldn't ask the SBI to offer such add-ons to the policemen already holding accounts.
Besides, he pointed out the government has transferred the accounts of some other public welfare schemes to the Axis Bank, without following due procedures and norms.