Member of Parliament Tejasvi Surya, who is a practising lawyer, on Friday appeared in court to argue in favour of over 45,000 aggrieved depositors of the Sri Guru Raghavendra Cooperative Bank.
Surya appeared for petitioner Dr NR Ravi, a retired Central Government employee with all his retirement savings at the cooperative bank. It was the first time since Surya took office as MP of Bengaluru South that he has appeared in court to argue for a party.
Dr Ravi had filed an Interlocutory Application (IA) with the Karnataka High Court justifying the appointment of an administrator to look after the affairs of the crisis-hit bank. The bank is currently under observation by the Reserve Bank of India after an inspection team found several leakages in the bank’s account books. The bank’s directors are alleged to have misappropriated funds of the depositors to sanction a large amount of loans that have since turned into NPAs.
The bank’s management brass, led by CEO Vasudeva Maiya and president Ramakrishna N, had filed a writ petition before the Karnataka HC seeking that the appointment of the administrator to look after the affairs of the bank be quashed. The IA was in response to the WP filed by the bank’s management, many of whom have criminal cases pending against them. The IA was allowed and posted for hearing next Friday.
“I appeared in court to argue in favour of more than 2 lakh people who have directly or indirectly been adversely affected by the mismanagement of the Sri Guru Raghavendra Cooperative Bank,” Surya said after his brief appearance in court.
“The misappropriation of the deposits of the bank and fudging of records, allegedly committed by its management, have let down and defrauded thousands of senior citizens who were solely dependent on the interest received on their deposits for survival. It is essential that the views of the depositors are heard and their interests are protected whenever any decision is taken on the future of the bank.”
Later, Surya conducted a review meeting of the bank’s status under the leadership of Karnataka Cooperation Minister ST Somashekar. Basavanagudi MLA Ravi Subramanya and Chickpet MLA Uday Garudachar were present.
Surya has been vocal about reviving the operations of the bank and protecting the interests of its depositors ever since details of the misappropriation of deposits surfaced. He had previously taken a delegation of the bank’s depositors to meet Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and express their concerns.
Surya believes the bank can be operationalised again in a year with a different board of directors. He feels liquidation of the bank would not be in the best interests of the depositors as they would stand to lose almost all of their lifelong savings.