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Sugar scam: Sharad Pawar to file suit against Anna Hazare

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday decided to file a defamation suit against anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare, who filed three petitions in the Bombay high court, alleging a Rs25,000-crore loss to the government caused by co-operative sugar factories.

mumbai Updated: Jan 05, 2017 01:16 IST
Megha Pol
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday decided to file a defamation suit against anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare, who filed three petitions in the Bombay high court, alleging a Rs25,000-crore loss to the government caused by co-operative sugar factories.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday decided to file a defamation suit against anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare, who filed three petitions in the Bombay high court, alleging a Rs25,000-crore loss to the government caused by co-operative sugar factories.(HT)

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday decided to file a defamation suit against anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare, who filed three petitions in the Bombay high court, alleging a Rs25,000-crore loss to the government caused by co-operative sugar factories.

Hazare had named Sharad Pawar and his nephew Ajit Pawar, among others, in the alleged “sugar factory scam” and sough an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against the guilty.

Talking to media in Thane, Pawar raised doubts over the state government’s decision to spend a whooping Rs3,600 crores on the Shivaji memorial off the Mumbai coast.

Refuting the allegations, Pawar said, “Hazare has given me an opportunity to make my stand clear before everyone. I am at present consulting my lawyer and will file both criminal and defamation suits against him. I don’t know from where he got the figure of Rs25,000 crore. Hazare, though a social worker, cannot defame anyone and everyone.”

The petitions alleged that the fraud had been committed in governance by first burdening sugar cooperative factories with debts and thereafter selling these sick units at a throwaway price, causing loss of Rs25,000 crore to the government, cooperative sector and people.

Pawar clarified, “In all the cases, tenders were floated as per the procedure several times. Moreover, the alleged scam took place when I was a minister at the Centre and not connected to decisions taken by the state goovernment.”

Pawar also said there was no need to spend Rs3,600 crore on the Shivaji memorial. “We are not questioning the greatness of Shivaji, though there was no need to spend so much money on a third statue.” He added it was his government who had approved the statue but could not compete it due to a lower budget.

Gujarat pattern of budget announcement

With the announcement of elections in five states, the question of violation of code of conduct guidelines by declaring Union Budget has cropped up. Pawar said, “The Budget will anyways be over in four to five days from January 31 to first week of February. In our time, Budget discussions and approvals used to take a minimum of 22 days. I have heard it merely takes three to four days in Gujarat and I can see the same pattern replicated in the Budget.”

On Shiv Sena

Seconding Uddhav Thackeray’s views against releasing Budget amidst elections, Pawar said a decision whether to join hands with the Shiv Sena on the issue will be taken after a discussion with his party members. Thackeray said the opposition should come along with the Sena to demand a cancellation of the budget as it may influence voters. Pawar said, “Uddhav’s statement reflects that our opposition is agreeing with our way of thinking. The Sena and BJP have come together only for power.”

On demonetisation

Pawar claimed that although the Centre has performed the surgery, the after-care was botched up. “Fifty days are over but there is no change in the situation. Farmers have stopped getting loans as the co-operative banks have suffered. The real estate is affected. The growth of various sectors is affected due to demonetisation which will also affect our GDP.”

Read

Demonetisation failed to check black money, rural economy collapsed, says Pawar