On Monday, Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADCB) and its chairman Ajay Patel filed separate criminal defamation suits against the Congress president Rahul Gandhi and the party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala over their allegations against the bank and its chairman.
In 2016, both the leaders accused the bank of being involved in a scam to convert Rs 750 crore in five days after demonetization was announced. On June 22, Randeep Surjewala had claimed that the ABCB chairman Ajay Patel is “close associate of BJP president Amit Shah who is a director and former chairman of the bank”. The allegations were made on the basis of an RTI reply issued by NABARD in response to an RTI query filed by a Mumbai-based activist. Randeep Surjewala further demanded an investigation of the matter and alleged that the RTI reply has “exposed an attempt to convert black money into white money in the guise of demonetisation”.
On the very same day Rahul Gandhi, taking to twitter, had said, “Congratulations Amit Shah ji, Director, Ahmedabad Dist Cooperative Bank, on your bank winning 1st prize in the conversion of old notes to new race. 750 Cr in 5 days! Millions of Indian whose lives were destroyed by Demonetisation, salute your achievement.”
Congratulations Amit Shah ji , Director, Ahmedabad Dist. Cooperative Bank, on your bank winning 1st prize in the conversion of old notes to new race. 750 Cr in 5 days!
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) June 22, 2018
As the controversy erupted, NABARD had clarified that average amount deposit in ADCB was Rs 46,795 per depositor in 18 district co-operative banks of the western state of Gujarat. NABARD in its statement also said the bank had complied with all the KYC guidelines of the RBI while accepting the demonetised notes. The statement further read, “During the period when the banks were permitted to accept deposits, 1.6 lakh customers of the bank deposit/exchanged the demonetised notes aggregating to Rs 746 crore, which was only about 15 percent of the total deposits of the bank.” Given the fact that ADCB has 16 lakh accounts spread across 194 branches, this makes it Gujarat’s biggest DCCB, so there is nothing unusual about a bank receiving amount of 746 crore deposits in the first five days of demonetization. NABARD in its statement appreciated the ADCB bank and also called it a “farmer-friendly bank”.
The complainants in their plea contented that the accusations leveled by both the Congress leaders are “false and defamatory.” Counsel for ADCB and Patel, S V Raju said Rahul Gandhi tweeted “ShahZyadaKhaGaya’ …that the party (BJP) became richer by 80 per cent. But not a single penny has gone anywhere from the bank.” The claims of complainants are right given the aforementioned clarification issued by the NABARD. It is not the first time that opposition is eating the crow, earlier also opposition and their coteries in media have carried out hit jobs against the BJP President Amit Shah and best performing ministers of BJP cabinet- Piyush Goyal and Nitin Gadkari- and all of their filed suits against their accusers and accusations against them have been also proven wrong within no time. Accusations were so vague and baseless that even a simple Google search was enough to prove the hollowness of the accusations. But one should ask, for whatever reason, when was the last time we heard of a top politician like Rahul Gandhif rom the opposition camp filing a defamation suit? What are they scared of if they are innocent? Their silence only cements the fact that accusations against them are true in their letter and spirit.