New Delhi: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar will on Friday visit the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office for questioning, in connection with the Rs 25,000 crore alleged Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank loan scam case.
Ahead of the former Maharashtra Chief Minister’s visit, the Mumbai Police has announced that Section 144 will be in place in Ballad Estate, where the ED office is located. It will also be in place in Colaba, Cuffe Parade, Marine Drive, Azad Maidan, Dongri, JJ Marg, and MRA Marg police stations.
Also before his visit, senior police officers arrived at his residence. NCP leader Nawab Malik, meanwhile, alleged that NCP workers were being detained in Mumbai and other places across Maharashtra.
The NCP chief was, on Tuesday, named by the ED as one of the accused in the case along with his nephew and former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. The agency’s action came after the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police, filed an FIR in the case, on the directions of the Bombay High Court.
Furious by the ED’s action, NCP workers on Wednesday staged a protest outside the ED office in Mumbai. Hours later, in a press conference, Pawar announced that he himself will go to the ED office as he was innocent and because ‘Maharashtra has taught us not to bow down before Delhi.’
The case pertains to alleged irregularities in loan disbursements to cooperative sugar factories, and allegations that loans were sanctioned despite having weak financials. An inspection carried out by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) as well as a chargesheet filed by the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies (MCS) Act blamed Ajit Pawar’s ‘decisions, actions and inactions’ for the losses.
However, that the development comes just ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly elections, which will take place on October 21, has triggered the ire of the opposition parties who have accused the ruling BJP of ‘political vendetta.’
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, has, however, denied any ‘vengeful politics’ behind the action on Pawar.