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Ajit Pawar denies favouring firm with land allotment

india Updated: Apr 21, 2011 01:19 IST
Maharashtra deputy chief minister

Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar on Wednesday denied allotting government land to a private company in which he was a shareholder.

Responding to questions in the assembly, he categorically denied having any links with AG Mercantile and said he did not currently own any of its shares.

Significantly, DB Realty's managing director Vinod Goenka, currently in jail as an accused in the 2G scam case, is a director on the board of AG Mercantile.

Ajit Pawar is the nephew of Union agriculture minister and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar.

Ajit Pawar was responding to a barrage of questions from opposition parties following an expose by private Marathi news channel IBN-Lokmat.

Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse and others, who accused Pawar of misusing his official position in the matter, sought a clarification on the allegations.

While conceding that he had bought 8,000 shares of the company in May 2005, Ajit Pawar said he disposed them off in eight months.

"I did not have shares during the subsequent (assembly) elections, so there was no question of disclosing it in my poll affidavit," Pawar said, countering the opposition's charge that he had withheld this information.

The TV channel has claimed that the company was given more than three acres of prime land near Karjat on the Mumbai-Pune highway for constructing a holiday resort.

It said that the company agreed to repair the Bhilavali dam in the region and was allotted the land in lieu of its services.

Ajit Pawar was the state irrigation minister in 2007, when the dam repair contract was awarded to the company.

Sharad Pawar has already denied having any connections with Goenka's business partner, Shahid Balwa, one of the prime accused in the 2G spectrum scam.

Ajit Pawar has admitted that Goenka's father was known to him, but declined to elaborate.