Udupi: Alleging that Udupi District In-charge Minister Pramod Madhwaraj had misused his power to exert influence on Syndicate Bank and stop it from making public the Rs 193 Crore loan documents, RTI activist T J Abraham challenged the minister to come out clean and publicly state that he has no objection if the bank discloses the details about the Rs 193 Crore loan case.
As per Abraham, the bank refused to disclose the documents under RTI, saying that the same is exempted from disclosure under Section 8(1)(d)(e) and (j) of the RTI Act. However, these clauses mentioned by the Bank are clauses speaking about information including commercial confidence, trade secrets, fiduciary relationship in relation to personal information, the disclosure of which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual.
It may be recalled that Abraham on March 14, 2018 had sought a Union Finance Ministry probe into the loan secured by the minister by pledging records of property worth only Rs 1.1 Crore. It was also alleged that the bank staff at Syndicate Bank, Malpe branch were involved in the wrong doing and that the allegations attract Section 12 B, 415, 420 and 403 of IPC.
Further, he questioned why Madhwaraj had not yet filed the Rs 10 Crore defamation suit against him.
Terming these allegations as baseless, Madhwaraj on March 15 this year had urged the public not to believe such allegations and had said that he was open for a probe into the matter. Further, he had publicly said that anyone could enquire about the said loan at Malpe branch of Syndicate Bank. The bank manager at Malpe branch too denied any wrongdoing and had said that personal business loans had been granted to the minister against proper guarantees while adhering to the bank rules.
In response, Abraham, on March 17, had submitted an application under the RTI Act seeking details of the properties mortgaged by Madhwaraj while availing the loan, at the Regional Office of the Syndicate Bank.
Later, Madhwaraj had said that he would file a Rs 10 Crore defamation case against Abraham for making derogatory charges and even sent a legal notice seeking reply within 3 days. Abraham, while welcoming this decision of the minister had dared him to go ahead and file the defamation suit atleast within 30 days or that he himself would file a case against him.
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