ACB seeks documents related to Jarandeshwar mill in graft case - Hindustan Times
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ACB seeks documents related to Jarandeshwar mill in graft case

May 29, 2024 07:00 AM IST

The agency has asked Rajendra Ghadge, one of the cooperative sugar factory’s stakeholders, to appear before the investigation officer additional superintendent of police Vijay Chaudhari at its Pune office with documents, according to a letter issued by ACB on May 17

PUNE: The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Pune division, has initiated inquiry into allegations of corruption charges related to Jarandeshwar Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana (JSSK) Limited.

Ghadge who was director at JSSK and is closely associated to deputy chief minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Ajit Pawar could not be reached. (REPRESENTATIVE PIC)
Ghadge who was director at JSSK and is closely associated to deputy chief minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Ajit Pawar could not be reached. (REPRESENTATIVE PIC)

The agency has asked Rajendra Ghadge, one of the cooperative sugar factory’s stakeholders, to appear before the investigation officer additional superintendent of police Vijay Chaudhari at its Pune office with documents, according to a letter issued by ACB on May 17.

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Ghadge who was director at JSSK and is closely associated to deputy chief minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Ajit Pawar could not be reached.

As per allegations, Jarandeshwar, the ailing sugar mill located at Chimangaon in Koregaon area of Satara district with links to Ajit Pawar and family, was undervalued, auctioned, and eventually leased.

The ACB notice has come four days after the fourth phase of polling and three days before the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra.

According to the notice, ACB as part of an open inquiry has sought documents related to JSSK, distillery project of Laxmi Organic Industries, and documents of land deal in Koregaon area of Satara district.

The probe has raised eyebrows in political circles especially when Pawar and his wife Sunetra’s names were dropped by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) when the agency in April 2023 filed charge sheet in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) money laundering case. The bank had attached the properties of the sugar mill linked to Ajit Pawar.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Vijay Kumbhar said, “Few days ago, I wrote on a social media platform that Ajit Pawar took a flexible stance on going back with Sharad Pawar and hence the BJP might soon take some measures in that context. Today we came to know that ACB will investigate the JSSK case.”

According to Kumbhar, this is believed to be a part of a move to increase pressure on Ajit Pawar.

Amol Tambe, superintendent of police, ACB Pune, on Tuesday said, “There is nothing new in the case. We are investigating it as per the permission given by the state government in February 2022. We are asking all stakeholders to appear before the investigation officer as part of probe.”

JSSK was running under the leadership of Shalinitai Patil, former Congress leader, in 2004-05. To run the operations, JSSK took a loan from MSCB. By the end of March 2008, the loan amount mounted to 78.90 crore and JSSK became a non-performing asset (NPA). MSCB initiated action under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (SARFAESI) and issued notice to the sugar factory. It took possession of JSSK and the distillery plant on July 16, 2010.

It was then alleged that the assets of JSSK was sold at a throwaway price as the figure calculated in the report of a government-approved valuer appointed by JSSK management was higher.

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