New Delhi: As Sharad Pawar was ready to appear before Enforcement Directorate (ED), the probe agency sent an e-mail to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief, asking him not to visit its office on Friday. “Enforcement Directorate (ED) has sent an e-mail stating that Sharad Pawar is not required to visit the office today. When required, ED will intimate him. But Sharad Pawar remained firm on his decision”, said NCP leader Nawab Malik.

The ED, on Tuesday, named Pawar, his nephew Ajit Pawar, besides other state political leaders and officials in the alleged Rs. 25000-crore scam in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank Ltd.

Extending support to the NCP leader, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, earlier in the day, slammed the Modi government and accused it of being vindictive. Furthermore, he raised question on the timing of the ED action as it comes a month ahead of the forthcoming Maharashtra Assembly election 2019.

“Sharad Pawar Ji is the latest Opposition leader to be targeted by a vindictive Government. The timing of this action, a month before elections in Maharashtra, reeks of political opportunism”, tweeted Gandhi.

Besides Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s estranged ally, Shiv Sena also backed the NCP supremo. “People do not believe on the charges leveled against him. They have faith in Pawar. There is no proof against him,” senior Congress leader Sanjay Raut reportedly said.

He added,”Govt should’ve seen what is happening. ED should have had a discussion with govt on this. Pawar ji is a tall leader, his followers are present throughout the state, this will certainly have some reaction.”