MESCO ‘forgets’ 2.8 cr of 3 cr loan from charity fund

Two-and-a-half-year after a one-year loan of Rs 3 crore was extended to it from charity money collected for welfare of ex-servicemen, the Maharashtra Ex Servicemen Corporation Ltd (MESCO) is yet to repay Rs 2.8 crore.

The loan to MESCO from the Department of Sainik Welfare (DSW), apparently given without appropriate sanction, was to be returned by October 11, 2011 at 8.5% interest. Interestingly, Col (retd) Suhas Jatkar, the director of DSW is also the Managing Director of MESCO, thus making him responsible for extending as well as repaying the loan.

The Indian Express had reported how MESCO has been given a loan of Rs 3 crore from the Flag Day Fund without approval of the chief minister/ Governor, the competent authorities to decide disbursement of Flag Day Fund. This fund is a charitable contribution from citizens for welfare of ex-servicemen and gets tax exemption under the Income Tax Act. The figures were accessed through RTI.

The loan to MESCO on October 11, 2010 was to be repaid by October 11, 2011. On January 25, 2011, MESCO paid Rs 20 lakh as interest. However, Rs 2.8 crore is yet to be paid to DSW. The loan was for buying land at MIDC.

Jatkar is director of DSW (the agency that extended the loan) and MD of MESCO (the agency to which the loan was extended). In a letter dated January 1, 2011, Jatkar, in his capacity as MESCO MD had written to the chief minister seeking government funding of Rs 7 crore. It was not granted but Jatkar said in the letter that MESCO is burdened with an additional expense of Rs 2.12 lakh per month as interest on the Rs 3 crore loan. Given that Rs 2.8 crore is pending till date, the unpaid interest itself amounts to a whopping 61.2 lakh which could have gone into welfare scheme for ex-servicemen and their families.

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