PANAJI: Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant on Tuesday stated that the government will hold thorough inquiry and initiate stern action against those involved in duping depositors of Visionaries Urban Co-Operative Credit Society.
The Chief Minister intervened and made the statement during reply to the calling attention notice tabled by Curtorim MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco and Benaulim MLA Churchill Alemao in the Legislative Assembly.
The Chief Minister said that people misappropriate funds and escape because the department had no powers to intitiate action against them. He said that the government was not in the process of amending Cooperative Societies Act.
The MLA said that there were apprehensions and anxiety in the minds of the shareholders and depositors of various co-operative credit societies and in particular of the Visionary Urban Co-operative Society over the alleged Rs 39 crore fraud.
They demanded action against the the board of directors and also against auditors by the Registrar of Co-operative Societies (RCS) for failing to detect the same in time. They further urged the government to initiate immediate measures to prevent such scam in future and to recover the amount by attachment of properties of the directors by the government.
In his reply, Cooperation Minister Govind Gaude said that after conducting audit of the society up to financial year 2017-2018, various illegalities in the functioning of the society came to light whereby the funds of the society were found misappropriated and mis-utilised by the management and staff members of the society.
The term of board of directors expired, however, non of the members were willing to be on the board of directors of the society. Hence a committee of administrator was appointed on January 15.
As per the audit report of the society as on March 31, 2018, the share capital of the society was Rs 7,41,9020; deposits Rs 39,17,15,011; cash and bank balance Rs 2,38,7769.68; investment Rs 38,64,5617; loans and advances Rs 12,43,17,189; fixed assets (office premises and land) Rs 3,24,0132; accumulated loss Rs 33,13,33,328; NPA Rs 6,04,59,759; NPA accounts number 219 besides, two branch manager and 14 clerks for four branches.
Gaude said that the department had filed misappropriation cases against the alleged persons to recover losses of the society during the year 2007-2008 which was Rs 5,42,75,722; in 2008-2009 - Rs 1,22,70,962 and in 2009-2010 - Rs 90,71,385.90 and for which the departmental auditor had also filed FIR against the culprits. Due to the financial irregularities the managing committee was superseded and committee of administrators was appointed on October 24, 2011 and thereafter the election to the new board of directors was held on September 3, 2012.
He said that department upon verification of serious irregularities pointed out in audit report for 2014-2015, had directed the society vide letter dated April 13, 2016 to stop collecting deposits immediately to curtail the losses. Directions were issued to the various nationalised and cooperative banks to stop operation of the accounts of the society.
The term of board of directors expired, however, none of the members willing to be on the board of directors of the society hence to streamline the affairs of the society, a three-member committee of administrator was constituted thrice on December 20, 2019; January 15, 2020 and January 21, 2020.
Directions were also been given to file special report to the concerned auditor for 2017-2018. The auditor had pointed out the various financial as well as functional irregularities and in order to verify in detail, a considerable amount of time was required to establish the quantum of misappropriation/misutilisation of funds of the society and further action on the same will be initiated in the due course of time as per the provisions of law.
The society had failed to appoint auditor for the financial year 2018-2019 in the general body and therefore the department has appointed auditor for 2018-2019, the Minister added.
The Minister further told the House that two FIR were registered against the management of the society in 2010 and 2013 by the Maina-Curtorim police. He said that now the passport of one of the director had been seized by the Colva police.
The Minister said that people should verify the credentials of the board of directors and the society before investing their money.