Updated January 5th, 2024 at 18:23 IST
ED raids firm linked to Sharad Pawar's grand-nephew Rohit
ED raids Baramati company of NCP Chief Sharad Pawar's grand nephew
Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday carried searches at multiple locations across the state in connection with the Maharashtra State Cooperative bank scam case. Several location were raided including Amravati, Sambhaji Nagar (Aurangabad), Baramati, and Pune. The company under ED scanner, Baramati Agro, was owned and operated by Rajendra Dinkarrao Pawar, Rohit Rajendra Pawar, Subhash Jagannath Gulve, Rishikesh Namdeo Dabhade and Vijaya Shivyogi Hiremath.
Rohit Pawar is a legislator from the Karjat-Jamkhed constituency and also Sharad Pawar's grand-nephew. Both Mumbai Police and ED are investigating more than 70 politicians, including 50 from NCP, nine from Congress, two from Shiv Sena and one from BJP. The Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar is also named as an accused in the FIR ,
What is the case all about?
The ED had initiated the investigation based on an FIR registered by the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police under several sections of the IPC and the PMLA Act in 2019.
Based on the directions of the Bombay High Court, the FIR was lodged based on the allegations that the cooperative sugar factories were fraudulently sold by then-officials and directors of Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) at low prices to related entities without following due procedure.
In 2020, the EOW filed a closure report in the Mumbai sessions court while the ED filed an intervention against the closure report. In October 2022, the Mumbai Police EOW informed the court for MLAs and MPs that it had begun probing into points raised by petitioners and the ED.
Why was Baramati Agro raided?
ED, opposing the clean chit given by Mumbai Police, informed the court that Baramati Agro Pvt. a company, owned by NCP MLA Rohit Pawar had not only funded the earnest deposit of another firm which participated in the bid to purchase an ailing CSF but also funded its purchase through cash credit accounts of various banks sanctioned for the purpose of working capital requirement, thereby indulging in ‘diversion of funds’.
The filed an application which said "It is revealed that Kannad SSK (Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana), Aurangabad, which has taken loan from MSCB, was sold through auction by MSCB under SARFAESI Act for approx. Rs. 50 crores in October-November 2012. The said SSK was purchased by Baramati Agro Pvt. Ltd. Along with Baramati Agro, there were two other companies including Hitech Engg. Corporation India Ltd which participated in the auction proceedings. From the scrutiny of the bank accounts, it is found that on August 25, 2012, Hitech Engg received an amount of Rs. 5 crores from Baramati Agro Ltd, two days later, it was used by the firm for the purpose of EMD to participate in auction proceedings for sale of the said SSK"
The application further read, "Funds utilized by Baramati Agro Ltd. for purchase of said Kannad Sakar Karkhana were originally sourced from cash credit accounts of various banks sanctioned for the purpose of working capital requirement. However, the said funds have been used for the purchase of Kannad Sakhar karkhana which, prima facie appears to be diversion of funds obtained from banks"
In the year 2023, Enforcement Directorate had filed a chargesheet in this case but didn't name Ajit Pawar and Sunetra Pawar in the chargesheet. Later, a supplementary chargesheet was filed by ED in which it named Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA Prajakt Tanpure, ex-Congress state chief Ranjeet Deshmukh, Shiv Sena leader Arjunrao Panditrao Khotkar, businessman Sameer Padmakar Mulay, builder Jugal Kishore Tapadia and Subhash Deshmukh.
The accused firms, mentioned in the two chargesheets, are Prasad Sugar and Allied Agro Products Limited, Takshashila Securities Private Limited, Arjun Sugar Industries Pvt. Ltd and Tapadia Construction Pvt. Ltd.
Published January 5th, 2024 at 18:22 IST