Mumbai: Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar said on Saturday that he resigned as MLA in keeping with his "conscience" after his uncle and party chief Sharad Pawar's name was embroiled in the alleged MSC Bank scam for no reason.
An emotional Ajit, whose resignation on Friday ahead of Maharashtra elections shocked political circles, also denied that there was any rift within the Pawar family.
He also questioned the allegations against him in connection with the alleged Rs 25,000 crore scam at the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank.
"Sharad Pawar is not even remotely associated with the bank or its transactions in any capacity. Yet, the day before yesterday, only Pawar saheb's name was doing rounds in connection with the case," Ajit Pawar said at a press conference here.
"I reached upto (the post of) deputy chief minister because of Sharad Pawar....I was perturbed as I felt it was because of me that he had to face infamy at this age. Hence, I decided to resign in keeping with my conscience," he added.
"I apologise to NCP workers if their sentiments were hurt by my actions," he said.
About the scam allegations, Pawar said leaders of all political parties were members of the board of the cooperative bank, and all decisions about sanctioning of loans and other matters were taken collectively.
MSCB's held deposits of Rs 11,500-12,000 crore, so how could a scam of Rs 25,000 crore happen, he asked. The bank had reported a profit of Rs 285 crore, the NCP leader pointed out.
The Mumbai police registered an FIR in the case upon the Bombay High Court's orders, which was followed by registration of a case of money laundering by the Enforcement Directorate against Ajit Pawar, Sharad Pawar and others.
Earlier in the day, Ajit, who remained incommunicado after he resigned on Friday, met his uncle at the latter's residence in Mumbai.
"There is nothing to worry. He (Ajit Pawar) himself will give you (media) further details," Sharad Pawar told reporters after the meeting.
Sharad Pawar senior's daughter and party MP Supriya Sule, who was advised rest after being diagnosed with dengue, also attended the meeting where only members of the Pawar clan were present.
On Friday, Ajit caused a flutter in the party when he sent his resignation as the MLA from Baramati segment to Legislative Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagade, which has been accepted.
Ajit did not disclose the reason while tendering the resignation.
His resignation in the run-up to the October assembly polls came on a day when NCP leaders and workers rallied behind Sharad Pawar, in the money laundering case.
The anti-money laundering agency has also registered a case against Ajit in the alleged Rs 25,000 crore embezzlement scam. According to reports, Ajit was upset because his nephew Rohit Pawar was likely to make a debut on the state political scene.
However, the Pawar senior had dismissed reports of differences within his clan. "There is no feud. My decision is the last word in all family matters. When I meet Ajit I will ask him the reason for his extreme decision," Pawar had said.
According to Pawar, Ajit's son Parth had told him that his father was "restless" as he felt that he was the cause behind the ED registering a case against the veteran politician.
Reports of a cold war between Ajit and Supriya Sule for supremacy in the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) keep surfacing intermittently.