New Delhi: Activists of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Wednesday protested outside the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) Mumbai office a day after party chief and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Sharad Pawar was named in a money laundering case by the agency. Also Read - Maharashtra Bank Scam: ED Initiates Money-Laundering Probe Against Sharad Pawar
Along with Pawar, his nephew and former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and 75 others have been named by the ED in connection with the alleged Rs 25,000 crore Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) scam. The ED action came after the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police, last month, filed a first information report (FIR) against Ajit Pawar, on the directions of the Bombay High Court. Also Read - Ahead of Maharashtra Polls, NCP's Ajit Pawar Suffers Big Jolt as SC Declines to Quash Probe in Co-op Bank Scam
However, earlier today, Sharad Pawar, also a former Union Defence Minister, said that he’d be ‘pleased’ to go to jail as ‘he’s never had this experience before.’ Also Read - Trouble For Ajit Pawar, Mumbai Police Registers FIR in Maharashtra Bank Scam
The ED action comes nearly a month before Assembly elections are scheduled to be held in Maharashtra. The elections will be held in a single-phase, on October 21, as announced by the Election Commission of India (ECI) last Saturday. The votes will be counted and results announced on October 24.
The NCP is expected to contest the election in alliance with the Congress. Maharashtra is currently governed by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiv Sena coalition, with the former’s Devendra Fadnavis as the Chief Minister.
The schedule for Maharashtra elections will also be followed in Haryana, another BJP-governed state.