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No proof of Ajit Pawar threatening villagers: Police

india Updated: Apr 19, 2014 21:22 IST
Yogesh Joshi
Yogesh Joshi
Hindustan Times
Ajit Pawar

The Pune rural police on Saturday said there was no concrete proof against deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar in a case pertaining to an alleged threat to "cut off water supply" to Masalwadi village if the people there did not vote for cousin Supriya Sule.

In absence of the evidence, the Vadgaon (Nimbalkar) police registered a non-cognisable case against Pawar.

Pawar's cousin and daughter of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Sule is seeking a second term from Baramati. Polling in the constituency was held on April 17.

"We found that there was no substance in a complaint filed by AAP candidate Suresh Khopade. The probe found that no public meeting was held on April 16, a day after campaigning officially concluded. As far as accusations of threats are concerned, we found no substance in it," Pune superintendent of police (SP) Manoj Lohiya told Hindustan Times over phone.

According to Lohiya, a non-cognisable case was registered against Pawar under sections 171c & f of IPC by converting Khopade's complaint.

Besides a police probe, the Election Commission (EC) has also sought report from district collector Saurabh Rao, who in turn has asked the returning officer of Baramati Shyam Deshpande to initiate an inquiry.

"I have asked the assistant returning officer of Baramati constituency to initiate a probe and submit a report. The report is expected in the next two days," Deshpande said.

In his complaint, Khopade, a former IPS officer contesting from Baramati, cited a video clip to allege that Pawar intimidated villagers. Pawar, in the grainy video purportedly tells Masalwadi villagers in Baramati constituency that "If anybody from this village indulges in any trouble (failing to vote for Sule), I will cut off the water supply."

Besides Khopade, Mahayuti candidate Mahadeo Jankar had also filed a complaint with the EC. Ajit Pawar has denied that he intimidated villagers.

Meanwhile, a group of villagers in Masalwadi submitted letter to the block development officer denying that Pawar threatened them. "We have full faith in Pawar for solving our problem. We do not believe Pawar intimidated us."

However, another villager Manik Kale said the deputy chief minister did indeed threaten the villagers of cutting water supply. "Ajit dada came here and told us what you heard yourself in the video."

Masalwadi and surrounding villages have been facing water shortage. Through his reported remarks Pawar has ruffled feathers of locals, said villagers.

Previously Pawar had landed himself in another controversy by his "urinating in the dam" remarks. While responding to agitating farmers of Solapur for their demand of adequate water during the 2013 drought, the deputy chief minister said, "If there is no water in the dam, should I urinate into it."