Sugar mills sold after HC’s orders in 2010: Ajit Pawar
After the Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached the properties of Jarandeshwar Sahakari Sugar Karkhana (Jarandeshwar SSK) on Thursday, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar claimed that there were no irregularities in the selling procedure of the mill in 2010.
Speaking in Pune on Friday, Pawar asserted that the board of directors of Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank (MSCB) did not sell the sugar mills directly and it was done as per the orders given by the Bombay High Court. He also said that the directors of Jarandeshwar SSK mill will appeal in court against the latest action.
“While selling Jarandeshwar sugar mill, MSCB followed all the due procedures. About 12-15 companies had applied in the tendering process. The highest bid was offered by Guru Commodity situated in Mumbai for ₹65.75 crores and the mill was sold at this price. Other mills were also purchased by various companies. Many owners of the mills appealed against this in courts, but the results were not in their favour,” said Pawar.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday said it had attached assets worth ₹65.75 crore belonging to Jarandeshwar SSK situated at Chimangaon-Koregaon in Satara in connection with the money laundering case involving Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank while adding that a firm linked to state deputy chief minister and senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar and his wife Sunetra was involved in the case.
Pawar categorically denied any wrongdoing in the matter. He claimed that multiple investigations have already been done by several other agencies, but nothing has come out of it. “An agency has a total right to do the inquiry. During the tenure of the last government, CID had done an inquiry after it received complaints. But nothing came out of it. After that, the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) started an inquiry but nothing came out of that as well. Many PILs have been heard in the high court regarding the matter. A committee of retired judges had also done an inquiry in the selling of these mills. The allegations of me snatching away the sugar mills have been made earlier as well. But the sugar mill was not sold by the board of directors. It was done after the order of Bombay high court,” said Pawar.
He said that the current directors of Jarandeshwar SSK would appeal in the courts against the action taken by the agency. “There are no irregularities in the operations of Jarandeshwar sugar mill. When the directors of this mill were called by ED for the inquiry, they showed all the records to them. So, why the ED has started this action regarding Guru Commodity is beyond me. The directors of Jarandeshwar sugar mill will appeal in court for justice. Thousands of farmers and workers are dependent on this mill for their livelihoods,” he said.
BJP state president Chandrakant Patil alleged that the wrongdoings came forth related to Jarandeshwar SSK is just a tip of the iceberg of fraudulent selling of the 24 SSKs and all such transactions are now on ED’s radar.
“The action on the Jarandeshwar SSK is just the beginning. Inquiries of the sugar mills and cotton mills acquired in peanut amounts through MSCB are on ED’s radar. The fraudulent pattern to take over the property of sugar mills has been unveiled. After the ED’s action on Jarandeshwar SSK, the transaction paperwork has come into public domain,” said Patil.
Patil refuted the allegation that the action taken by the central agency is to create political pressure. “Those who complain about the action first should accept that there has been a fraud. Those who have done wrong will have to pay for it,” said Patil.