PUNE: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday claimed that the number of scams taking place in nationalised banks was higher than frauds reported in the cooperative banks.
Speaking at an event organised by the Pune District Urban Cooperative Bank, Pawar, who is also the state finance minister, said there are discussions about merging nationalised banks, and the move will create a space in the banking sector and cooperative banks can fill that up.
"If any small wrongdoing takes place at the level of cooperative banks, the sector is defamed to such an extent that a perception is created among citizens that these people (from cooperative banking sector) indulge in wrong deeds," the minister said.
Talking about the number of scams reported in banks, Pawar said that in 2018-19, a total of 3,766 cases of (irregularities) were reported in nationalised banks, involving amount to the tune of Rs 64,509 crore.
The state finance minister refuted a report about scams to the tune of Rs 220 crore at cooperative banks and said that there were 118 cases of irregularities at urban cooperative banks in the country and the amount involved was Rs 127 crore.
The number of scams reported at nationalised banks was higher than frauds at cooperative banks, but no propaganda or hue and cry is raised about that, he said.
Appealing for more transparency, professionalism and pro-people policies in the cooperative banking sector, Pawar said that any amount of irregularity is unacceptable.
A few years ago, a picture was painted that cooperative banks were being operated in a wrong way and allegations of corruption were being made, he said.
"Allegations were made that sugar mills were sold cheaply. Enquiries were conducted by the ACB, EOW, CID, cooperative department and even by a retired judge of a high court, but nothing was established," Pawar said.
He further said that there were discussions at the national level about merging nationalised banks, which will leave only seven or eight such institutions in the country.
"If that happens, a big space will be created in the banking sector and urban cooperative banks can fill that space," Pawar said.