Slamming the allegations of political vendetta by the Opposition regarding the ED probe in the Maharashtra State co-operative bank scam, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, on Wednesday, has said that such allegations are baseless while talking to reporters in Mumbai. He added that the ED automatically investigates money-laundering in cases where the amount exceeds Rs. 100 crores. Explaining the ED's probe, he said it was done according to the High Court's order. He dismissed any political motive behind the probe.
"When the economic offence is over Rs. 100 crore, the ED automatically takes cognizance of the issue and mentions in its complaint. It also probes the money laundering angle in the case (automatically). As per the direction of the High Court, ED has registered the complaint, collected information and probing the money laundering angle in the case. Hence it is wrong to say that the state government is conducting an investigation with a political motive or biased manner. This has never been the intention of the Maharashtra government," he said.
Talking about the upcoming Maharashtra assembly elections, he said that he was confident of BJP-Shiv Sena's chances. He said that their victory was common knowledge to all who know politics. Dismissing his government's involvement in the probe, he said that the ED did not report to his office. The ED had filed a case against the NCP chief Sharad Pawar, his nephew Ajit Pawar and others in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) scam case on Tuesday.
"Anyways those who know politics, know that the picture in the upcoming Maharashtra elections is clear. Everyone knows that BJP and its allies are going to win. Hence, such allegations are baseless. These investigations are done under the direction of the HC and the state government is not involved in any way. ED does not come under government," he added.
Explaining the proceedings in the investigation against the Pawars, he said, "A petition has been filed in the Bombay High Court (HC) regarding the scam which has occurred in the Maharashtra state co-operative bank. The petition alleges certain people who were involved in the scam and has demanded criminal proceedings be conducted against them. The (Bombay) High Court has directed the state police to file an FIR in this matter. Hence, following this order, the Mumbai Police has filed an FIR naming 60 people in the case. In the FIR, they (Mumbai police) has mentioned who has approved, who has influenced and other roles done by these 60 people and are under investigation."
Earlier on Tuesday, the ED had booked the NCP chief and his nephew Ajit Pawar in the multi-crore bank scam. Officials said that an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), equivalent to a police FIR, has been registered by the central agency under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The case is based on a Mumbai Police FIR. The FIR had named former chairmen of the bank, ex-deputy chief minister of Maharashtra Ajit Pawar and 70 former functionaries of the cooperative bank. However, some reports have said that Sharad Pawar was not named in the initial FIR by the Mumbai Police. Pawar and his allies - Congress has called the probe a political vendetta, while the BJP and the Sena have lauded the move.