New Delhi: Even as senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar was sworn in as the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra on Saturday, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) claimed that investigations into the case against him in connection with Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank (MSCB) scam to the tune of Rs 25,000 crore will continue.
The ED registered a case of money laundering against Ajit Pawar and the NCP supremo on September 24 in the run up to the Maharashtra Assembly elections which led to a huge political controversy.
The ED case comes in wake of directions from the Bombay High Court that asked the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police to investigate and file cases against the Pawars and some others in the alleged case of bank scam.
The Mumbai Police’s EOW had lodged an FIR in August in the case, following which the ED registered a case of money laundering in the matter. It has been alleged that there were several irregularities in the loans provided to the Co-operative Sugar Factories by MSCB officials who had links with the factory owners.
According to ED, the said loans were granted despite these sugar factories having very weak financials as well as negative net worth. In most cases collaterals were also not taken and additional facilities were extended without any justification.
These loans along with some other wrong decisions resulted in many of these sugar factories being reported which were subsequently sold at lower than the reserve price to benefit some of the buyers who were personally or politically connected with the some of the political leaders and directors of the bank.
The ED is also investigating another senior NCP leader, Praful Patel, in another case of alleged money laundering for possible links with assets of late Iqbal Mirchi, said to be an associate of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
ED had questioned Mr Patel for more than 12 hours in this case last month.
According to ED officials, Mr Patel’s Millennium Developers Pvt. Ltd. had constructed a building called Ceejay House in the year 2006-07.
The agency also alleged that the ownership of third and fourth floors of this building were transferred to Mirchi’s wife, Hajra Iqbal.
The land on which the building was constructed was apparently owned by Mirchi. The investigating agency also claimed that the land was purchased from the proceeds of crime — money laundering and drugs trafficking.
Incidentally, the ED has also questioned Mr Patel in another case of alleged money laundering which is linked to an aviation scam....