Mumbai, March 15: Former deputy chief minister and Public Works Department minister Chhagan Bhujbal is the third from the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party to be under scanner for alleged misappropriation of funds and money laundering cases. The other two being Ajit Pawar and Sunil Tatkare, who are being probed.
Pawar and Tatkare are already facing the music as they are being interrogated by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) regarding alleged scams in several irrigation projects to the tune of Rs 70,000 crore.
Bhujbal’s story of rising to power is a political folklore as from being a mere vegetable vendor on the streets, Bhujbal made it to a position of the second man in Mantralaya. Ditto for Ajit Pawar, albeit the struggle part Bhujbal had to do. Bhujbal is being probed under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case. (Also Read: Chhagan Bhujbal sent to two-day ED custody in Maharashtra Sadan case; NCP leader breaks down)
Pawar, being the nephew of Maratha strongman Sharad Pawar was influenced by his uncle and joined politics. He served as the chairman of the Pune District Co-operative Bank for 16 long years since 1991 before being elected as the member of Lok Sabha from Baramati constituency. Later he had to vacate the MP’s position for his uncle Sharad Pawar, who became the defence minister in PV Narsimha Rao’s central government.
Tatkare, before being elected as an MLA, was a government road contractor and forayed into politics only 1984. He went on to become the water resources minister, Food and Finance ministers of the state, but things didn’t fall in place for him later on. Allegations of land grabbing and disproportionate assets surfaced against him and Enforcement Directorate had already started probing him in assets case. The ACB also sought the approval of the Devendra Fadnavis-led government in Maharashtra to proceed against him in land grabbing and disproportionate assets cases.
However, Bhujbal is the first person to get arrested and ED was given his custody for two more days earlier in the day as he apparently didn’t co-operate with the officials in the probe. It is learnt that he ducked most questions of the questions and answered “I don’t know” for which the ED asked for his custody which was granted by the court.
Therefore, it’s not only the crisis hour for Bhujbal, but for the entire NCP as the party has not been doing well oflate. And for Bhujbal, he may have to serve a rigorous imprisonment for seven years, if found guilty.