The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Sunday arrested Padmasinh Patil, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and Osmanabad MP, in connection with the murder of Pavanraje Nimbalkar, a former associate and Congress leader.
Charged with murder and conspiracy, Patil (69) was remanded in police custody till June 14.
Nimbalkar and his driver Samad Kazi were shot dead on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway near Kalamboli in Navi Mumbai on June 3, 2006.
Patil has been accused of conspiring in Nimbalkar’s killing as the latter had raised issues related to the mismanagement of funds in the Patil-run Terna Sugar Cooperative Trust. Social activist Anna Hazare had joined Nimbalkar in the anti-corruption campaign.
Patil’s arrest is an embarrassment for NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
For decades, Patil has been known to be a close confidant of Pawar. He was even Pawar’s chief ministerial choice when the latter moved to national politics after the 1990 Lok Sabha elections.
But the then PM, PV Narsimha Rao, picked Sudhakar Rao Naik to be Pawar’s successor as CM.
The Patil-Nimbalkar rivalry reportedly began with reports of irregularities in the Patil-controlled Terna Cooperative Sugar Factory and Osmanabad District Cooperative Bank.
One allegation against the Terna factory was that it collected money for the Kargil War Martyrs’ Fund but used it for the factory instead of depositing it with the authorities.
The Osmanabad bank was one of the four district banks found to be involved in the Rs 600-crore G-Sec scam in 2001 in which brokers allegedly conspired with bank directors to buy fake government securities and siphon off investors’ money.
Nimbalkar, a former chairman of the Osmanabad bank, was Patil’s trusted man till the former faced arrest in the G Sec scam. Later, they turned rivals.
According to the CBI case, Patil organised Nimbalkar’s killing with the help of Satish Mandade, a friend. Mandade allegedly took Rs 30 lakh for getting Nimbalkar killed and paid the amount to Parasmal Jain through Mohan Shukl, a BJP corporator. Jain allegedly organised three shooters with the help of Kailash Yadav, a BSP worker from Uttar Pradesh.