Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar Wednesday denied charges of corruption in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank scam.
Mumbai: In a major embarrassment to the ruling BJP, senior party leader Eknath Khadse on Wednesday claimed Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar’s name was never mentioned in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank corruption case when he was “following it up” as Leader of Opposition in the Assembly.
Mr Khadse’s statement comes a day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) registered a money laundering case against the NCP chief, his nephew Ajit Pawar and others, which has triggered a firestorm in politics of poll-bound Maharashtra.
Claims of Mr Khadse, a disgruntled BJP veteran and former state minister, are likely to be lapped up by the NCP which has been alleging that the ED case was politically motivated with an eye on the next month’s assembly elections.
“I had followed up the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) corruption case when I was the Leader of Opposition in the state Legislative Assembly. I have raised the voice several times but I can state that Sharad Paw-ar’s name was nowhere in the entire case”.
“I wonder how his name got involved in the case,” he told reporters in his home district Jalgaon in north Maharashtra.
The ED filed the money laundering case against Pawar, his nephew Ajit Pawar and 70 others in the alleged `25000-crore MSB scam case on the directions of the Bombay high court.
According to Enforc-ement Directorate officials, the case is based on a Mumbai Police FIR that had named the then directors of the bank, former deputy chief minister of the state Ajit Pawar and 70 former functionaries of the cooperative bank.
Ajit Pawar denies corruption charges in MSCB scam
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar Wednesday denied charges of corruption in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank scam. He said that the total savings of the bank were Rs 12,000 crore, and questioned allegations of the `25,000 crore scam. He claimed that he only attended board meetings and was never involved in the bank’s decision to sanction loans.
Ajit Pawar told the media in Mumbai that NCP chief Sharad Pawar had no connection with the scam and he too was not part of the Board of Directors (BoD). “I haven’t indulged in corruption. If someone has doubts about me, he can conduct an inquiry through different investigative agencies,” Ajit Pawar said.
“When the total savings in the bank were `12000 crore, how can corruption to the tune of `25,000 cr-ore take place? If funds were misappropriated, how would the bank come into profit? As of today, the said bank is in profit of approximately `250 to `300 crores,” he said.
He further informed the media that when sugar factories were in huge losses, the central and state governments gave them monetary packages and banks gave them loans. This was done to keep the entities alive. He clarified that while giving loans, the appointed bank employees and not the BoD checked all the documents.
Commenting on the FIR, Ajit Pawar said, “Despite giving us the opportunity to defend ourselves, the Bombay high court issued direction to register a FIR. We are ready to give answers to the allegations.”
The Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank was not owned by just one political party. Leaders of NCP, Congress, BJP, Shiv Sena and the Workers and Peasants Party were part of the BoD.
Ajit Pawar said, “I haven’t indulged in corruption. The entire case should be investigated. I used to be absent in the loan committee meetings though I used to attend BoD meetings. I had other responsibilities too. I am ready to face an inquiry because I didn’t take a single paisa.”