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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

Sharad Pawar drops plan to go to ED office at the request of Mumbai police

The ED had registered a money laundering case against Pawar and others in connection with the alleged Rs 25,000-crore MSC Bank scam.

india Updated: Sep 27, 2019 18:19 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Sharad Pawar had announced his plan to visit the ED office on Friday afternoon.
Sharad Pawar had announced his plan to visit the ED office on Friday afternoon.(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT PHOTO.)
         

Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Friday dropped his plan to go to the Enforcement Directorate office in Mumbai at the request of the federal investigating agency and the Mumbai police commissioner.

The ED had registered a money laundering case against Pawar and others in connection with the alleged Rs 25,000-crore MSC Bank scam. Pawar had announced his plan to visit the ED office on Friday afternoon on Wednesday. The visit was designed to ensure that the investigating agency did not summon him in the middle of the assembly elections, signal that he had done no wrong and had nothing to hide and make the ED case against him a rallying point for his party.

Watch: Sharad Pawar cancels plan to visit ED office, slams Modi govt again 

But hours before he was to leave his house on Bhulabhai Desai Road for the ED office a short distance away, the central agency sent him an email that there was no need for him to come. Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Barve followed up on the ED mail and also requested that he stay home.

Also read: NCP plans show of strength near ED office, but Sharad Pawar urges for calm

NCP leaders had announced that Pawar would still go.

“I have decided not to go to the ED office,” Sharad Pawar told reporters outside his house, detailing how he had been asked by the Enforcement Directorate as well as Mumbai police not to make the visit.

“I don’t want to create law and order situation in the state... The decision was taken after deliberating with the party leaders,” Pawar said. “As such to avoid any problem and to avoid inconvenience to common people, I have decided not to go to ED office”.

The police had prepped for Sharad Pawar’s visit and imposed restrictions on gatherings outside the Enforcement Directorate’s office at Ballard Pier and other parts of south Mumbai.

The ED case pertains to loans provided by the MSC Bank - the apex body for all district central cooperative (DCC) banks in the state - to co-operative sugar factories, spinning mills and other processing units. It is alleged that these loans were given without considering the financial conditions of the cooperative units.

Pawar has clarified that he was never the director of any of the banks and questioned the timing of the action ahead of the Assembly polls in the state.

Pawar was on a statewide tour to meet party cadre, after the exodus of senior leaders and sitting legislators. Only last week, Pawar has said that he has never been in jail for his actions, in a dig at Union home minister Amit Shah after the latter questioned Pawar’s contribution to address farmers’ distress in Maharashtra.

Many opposition leaders had issued statements to back Pawar and run down the ED case as a reflection of what they described as vindictive politics. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi also waded into the row on Friday. Pawar thanked them, naming Rahul Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut, in his brief interaction with the media.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has denied that politics had anything to do with it. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank case was the first registered by the police on the high court’s directive. The ED, which comes under the Centre, had to automatically come into the picture under the rules for financial frauds involving Rs 100 crore or more, he said.

First Published: Sep 27, 2019 13:52 IST

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