Pratibha Mahila Sahakari Bank
||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (July 2012)|
Pratibha Mahila Sahakari Bank (Pratibha Women Cooperative Bank) is a cooperative bank founded by Pratibha Patil, (who later became the President of India ) in 1973 in Jalgaon in Maharashtra with the objective of empowering women. Pratibha Patil is a senior leader of Indian National Congress and President of India. Pratibha Patil was the founding chairperson of the bank and later one of its directors along with many of her relatives. She is currently one of the 34 respondents in an ongoing case in the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court on the subject of mismanagement of the bank and misappropriation of funds.
Reserve Bank of India (RBI), revoked the licence of the bank in 2003 after it was found out that the bank had illegally waived interest on loans given to many of Pratibha Patil’s family members .
The bank was declared as weak by the Reserve Bank of India in 1995. Two enquiries under the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act were ordered in July 2001 and April 2002.
The July 2001 enquiry revealed that the bank had incurred losses of Rs 1.35 crore, subsequent to which its chairperson and eight directors resigned.
Ministry of Finance on April 26, 2002, asked the RBI to inquire into allegations of fund irregularities after receiving a number of complaints from the Cooperative Bank Employees Union and small depositors of the bank.
In its 28-page inspection report noted that the bank had been declared “weak” since 1995 and after the 2002 inspection was being classified as “sick.”
The report revealed:
- The real or exchangeable value of the bank’s paid-up share capital and reserves stands at minus Rs 197.67 lakh. Thus, the bank is not having adequate assets to meet its liabilities. The bank does not comply with the RBI’s requirement of minimum share capital.
- The ratio of the net erosion to net owned funds of the bank is as high as 312.4% and the erosion in the value of the bank’s assets has not only wiped out its owned funds but has also affected the deposits to the extent of Rs 197.67 lakh, forming 26% of total deposits.
- The gross non-performing assets of the bank amount to 65.8% of the total loans and advances.
- The Board has not made any concerted effort to improve the bank’s financial position and bring it out of the weak status.
The RBI further stated in the report: “Pratibha Patil is the founder member of the bank, who is a politically influential personality. She has made all her relatives as directors of the bank and the bank is being run as good as a family business. Because of the influence of respondent no 8 (Prathiba Patil) the bank has given various loans to the relatives and to a sugar factory of which she is a director.”
“Her relatives have not paid back the loans. Most of the loans were given without security. Most of the loans are closed”
On February 25, 2003, RBI executive director P.B. Mathur signed the note revoking the bank’s licence.
Many depositors lost their life's saving. Many had made deposits in the bank as it was founded by Pratibha.
As per complaints filed by the bank’s union leaders, as many as a dozen of Patil’s relatives were granted loans. The list of relatives who received loans from her bank, meant for improving the plight of Jalgaon people, women in particular, includes her brothers and nephews.
The loan waivers were given to direct relatives. Besides many others were given benefits flouting banking norms.
The writ petition filed by the banks’ depositors in the High Court has made serious and more direct allegations against the founder chairperson Pratibha Patil.