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Loan default: Agri bank blames staff hired by SAD-BJP

Rajmeet Singh

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12

A few employees of the Punjab State Cooperative Agricultural Development Bank Ltd and some political appointees — engaged during the SAD-BJP government — are responsible for the poor fiscal health of the bank, if the official record of the bank is to be believed.

As per the defaulters’ data compiled by the bank, 235 persons owing allegiance to Akalis owe over Rs32 crore to the bank of which only Rs1.53 crore has been recovered.

The list also includes the family members of Balkaran Singh, Chairman of the Malout branch of the bank, who defaulted on paying back Rs1.35-crore loan taken between 2009 and 2014 on 22 counts. Though he has submitted two cheques for Rs11 lakh each, the department has initiated proceedings to remove him.

Three employees of the Hoshiarpur branch — Balbir Singh, Sandeep Singh and Gurmail Singh — had taken around Rs8-crore loan between 2007 and 2009.

The defaulters also include a former SGPC member, Youth Akali Dal leaders, two Vice-Chairmen of the bank from Malout branch, family members and relatives of political appointees in different branches of the bank.

Punjab Cooperative Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa said after compiling the list, the department was issuing a notice to major defaulters. “The department has also identified at least 127 Congress men who owe over Rs13 crore to the bank,” said a senior government functionary.

The recoveries of the bank reportedly plummeted over the years due to the long list of defaulters.

The Tribune

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