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EOW Gives Clean Chit to Ajit Pawar, His Wife in Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank Scam

The EOW, in the closure report, has said that no financial losses were caused to the bank, and so far, Rs 1,343.41 crore have been recovered by the bank from the loans given.
Ajit Pawar. Photo: Twitter/@AjitPawarSpeaks

Mumbai: Along with giving a clear chit to Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police has now claimed that no criminal offence is made out against his wife Sunetra Pawar and also nephew Rohit Pawar in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) case.

While Ajit and Sunetra Pawar are a part of the NCP (led by Ajit Pawar) faction, Rohit Pawar is a part of the Sharad Pawar-led faction of the NCP. Sunetra Pawar is the Lok Sabha contestant for NCP (AP) party from Baramati.

The 35- page closure report was filed earlier this year. However, the media got access to the details of the report on April 24.

According to the The Indian Express, the EOW, in the closure report, has said that no financial losses were caused to the bank, and so far, Rs 1,343.41 crore have been recovered by the bank from the loans given.

The case dates back to 2019 when on directions of the Bombay high court, the EOW filed a case. The case relates to allegations that loans were given to sugar factories by the MSC Bank, without following proper procedures.

The closure report has a direct bearing on the connected Enforcement Directorate (ED) case in which the agency has already filed two chargesheets so far. The ED had filed a separate offence alleging money-laundering based on the EOW’s case. The ED chargesheets besides Ajit Pawar also names t Sharad Pawar-led NCP faction MLA Prajakt Tanpure. In the absence of a base offence, like the EOW case, the ED cannot continue with its probe.

In March, when the case had come up for hearing, the EOW had claimed that a criminal case was filed “due to mistake of facts”.

Case details

The EOW had accused the Pawars of involving themselves in a transaction relating to the sale of one sugar factory named Jarandeshwar Sugar Sahakari Karkhana in Satara. The Indian Express report points to the ED probe that had claimed that the factory was sold to one Guru Commodity Services Ltd in 2010 at Rs 65 crore, after its finances deteriorated, despite taking loans from cooperative banks.

The ED alleged that loans were given to the sugar factory by banks, including the Pune District Central Cooperative Bank, of which Ajit Pawar was the director from 1995, and after it became a non-performing asset, its sale was at a “throwaway price” with companies linked to his relatives.

The probe further alleged that the money to buy the factory was given to the buyer by two other companies — Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills (JSM) Pvt Ltd and Jay Agrotech. Pawar’s wife, Sunetra, was the director of Jay Agrotech till 2008 and his uncle, Rajendra Ghadge, was the director of JSM.

The EOW has now claimed that Sunetra was not linked to Jay Agrotech as she was the director from April 1, 2004 to July 18, 2008 and not during the sale.

Similarly, the EOW claims that no role could be attributed to Rohit Pawar. A few months ago, Rohit Pawar was called by the ED for questioning on several occasions. After multiple summons, Rohit had appeared before the ED in January this year and the ED summons were looked at as a harassment tactic on the behest of the BJP. In February, Rohit Pawar had said that the ED has been asking him the same set of questions time and again. “The inquiries would stop only if I am jailed,” he had then said.

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