THE GREAT COBBLER SCAM
The boot may well be on the other foot now.
The shoe that pricked
A lot of scams are being discovered in India. It looks like the corruptions in India can never come to an end. If one corruption is exposed another one start somewhere. It reminds me one of the biggest multi million dollars scam in Indian history which was nicknamed The Great Cobbler Scam. The people involved in this racket were Saddrudin Daya, former sheriff of Mumbai and owner of Dawood Shoes, Rafique Tejani, owner of Metro Shoes, Kishore Signapurkar, proprietor of Milano Shoes, and Abu Asim Azmi, president of Samajwadi Party's Mumbai unit and partner in Citywalk Shoes, Beside them various officials of banks and financial institutions were also involved in this multi million dollars Cobbler Scam. The Banks whose officials were involved in this scam are: Maharashtra State Finance Corporation, Citibank, Bank of Oman, Dena Bank, Development Credit Bank, Saraswat Co- to eliminate, Cooperative Bank and Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait. This scam cost the Government of India around $600 million US dollars. This was one of the worst scam in India that cheated the poorest people of the society and benefited a lot of rich and elite people.
Background of the scam
MUMBAI: When Hemlatha Nikshe received a Rs 1 lakh loan recovery notice from Sant Rohidas Leather and Leather Workers' Development Corporation addressed to her deceased husband Gautam Traimbak Nikshe, she was perplexed. According to the notice, Gautam had stood guarantee to a loan taken by Bhaskar Sadashiv Jharekar, a complete stranger to her. Hemlatha's confusion turned to utter shock when she saw the date on which her schoolteacher husband had stood guarantor—December 13, 2004, a good two years after his untimely death. Little did she know that her family had been ensnared in a scam, very similar to the one that came to be known as the cobbler scam of 1997, where well-known footwear companies used cobblers' co-operatives to suck out more than Rs 1,000 crore in loans meant for their members. Hemlatha rushed to her husband's friends for help. When they asked around, they found that many more people had received similar recovery notices from the corporation.
The city's Civic Authority and Leather Workers' Development Corporation have to cobble up an explanation for a scam of Rs 35 lakh. A government scheme launched to give loans to cobblers earning less than Rs 55,000 a year seems to have been pocketed by middlemen who forged and stole documents to get these loans with help from Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC) employees. What's worse is that some unsuspecting Mumbaikars woke up to the scam after receiving big loan recovery notices as they had been made guarantors. One such man is Bhondawe Dhyaneshwar. A clerk in the BMC's health department, Bhondawe and his wife are hassled with the stress of an unfamiliar debt. Dhyaneshwar received a letter from the Leather Industries Development Corporation of Maharashtra (LIDCOM) last week, asking him to pay a loan of Rs 1 lakh in the capacity of a guarantor. The loan was taken by one Giriraj Sherkhane in August 2004, as a part of a state government scheme to give funds to impoverished cobblers. Unfortunately for Dhyaneshwar, he never consented to being a guarantor and moreover, he's never ever met Sherkhane. "The letter mentioned Giriraj Sherkhane's name stating he's taken a loan of Rs 1 lakh. It also states my name as a guarantor. I read that and was stunned," Dhyaneshwar says. There are 64 people like the Dhyaneshwar who have received notices to repay a loan they never agreed to be guarantors for. Surviving on a meager salary, they wonder how they landed into this mess. To find out more, CNN-IBN tracked down Giriraj Sherkhane - the beneficiary of this loan - from a chawl in Dharavi. He confessed not ever having known Bhondawe Dhyaneshwar. "He is my witness, but doesn't know...
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