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Updated January 20th, 2024 at 11:18 IST

Sharad Pawar's Grand Nephew Rohit Pawar Summoned in Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank Scam case

Rohit Pawar was on Friday summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to appear before the agency on January 24.

Sandip Singh
Rohit Pawar was on Friday summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to appear before the agency on January 24
Rohit Pawar was on Friday summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to appear before the agency on January 24 | Image:'X'/ANI
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Mumbai: Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar's grand nephew Rohit Pawar was on Friday summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to appear before the agency on January 24 in connection with the Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank Scam case, Republic has learnt. 

The move comes after the ED carried out raids at the premises of Baramati Agro – a company owned by Rohit Pawar – and some entities linked to it on January 5 in Baramati, Pune, Aurangabad and other locations.

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While commenting on the summons, Rohit Pawar said, “Many [people] called and messaged me [to express concern] after receiving the news [of summons issued by the ED]. Thanks to all of them, but there is no reason to worry". 

There is no fault of any officer, Pawar further said, adding that “it is our duty to cooperate with them as they are only following orders and doing their work”. 

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Stressing that he will “continue to cooperate with all the agencies”, Pawar asserted: “As the issue of Maratha reservation is important and protesters from across all states are coming to Mumbai, my only request to the ED is that instead of 24th, I be called on 22nd or 23rd [of this month]”. 

"I hope the ED will consider this request", Pawar told Republic.

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Affiliated with the Sharad Pawar faction of the NCP, 38-year-old Rohit Pawar is a first-time NCP MLA from the Karjat-Jamkhed seat in the Maharashtra assembly.

Rohit is the nephew of Baramati MP Supriya Sule, and the state's deputy chief minister and Baramati MLA Ajit Pawar.

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What is the case all about?

The ED had initiated the investigation based on an FIR in 2019 registered by the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police under several sections of the IPC and the PMLA Act.

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The FIR was lodged on the directions of the Bombay High Court on the allegations that the cooperative sugar factories were fraudulently sold by the then officials and directors of Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) at lower prices to related entities without following due procedure.

In 2020, the EOW filed a closure report in the case in the Mumbai sessions court while the ED filed an intervention against the closure report. 

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Subsequently, in October 2022, the Mumbai Police EOW informed the court that it had begun probing into points raised by the petitioners and the ED.

Why was Baramati Agro raided ?

The ED, while opposing the clean chit of Mumbai Police in the court earlier, had said "Baramati Agro Pvt. –  a company then 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’.

An application filed thereof stated, "It is revealed that Kannad SSK (Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana), Aurangabad, which has taken loan from the MSCB, was sold through auction by MSCB under SARFAESI Act for approximately Rupees 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 Engineering 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 received an amount of Rupees five crores from the 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."

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The application further read: "Funds utilized by Baramati Agro Ltd. for the 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 2023, the Enforcement Directorate had filed a chargesheet in this case without naming Ajit Pawar and Sunetra Pawar. 

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Later, a supplementary chargesheet was filed by the ED in which it named Prajakt Tanpure, Ranjeet Deshmukh, Arjunrao Panditrao Khotkar, Sameer Padmakar Mulay, Jugal Kishore Tapadia, and Subhash Deshmukh.

The accused firms included 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.

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Published January 19th, 2024 at 16:57 IST

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