THE BHARATIYA Janata Party (BJP)’s plan for making inroads in the powerful sugar industry were seemingly dented on Saturday.
A sugar mill, owned by former Maharashtra Minister and BJP leader Babanrao Pachpute, in his native Ahmednagar district has been taken over by its financer over a loan default.
The Saikrupa Sugar and Allied Industries Mill in Ahmednagar’s Shrigonda tehsil, which Pachpute controls, was seized by the representatives of the Punjab National Bank, who have represented that the mill owned the bank an outstanding amount of `383 crore.
While the mill is counted among the ones with the highest crushing capacity in the state, sources said the rain deficit over the past two years had impacted the cane yield in the region, which had raised production cost, and impacted returns on the produce.
According to information, the mill had secured a loan totalling `278 crore from a PNB-led consortium of banks. The interest on the loan kept mounting with the mill’s repayment plans taking a hit. On December 17, 2015, the PNB initiated recovery action granting the mill a two-month period to pay off the loan. Following the mill’s failure in repayment, the bank intimated that it planned to take over the mill property as per its rules. Finally, on September 30, the PNB informed the Ahmednagar district collector that it was in possession of the mill’s land, Pachpute’s office, and a bungalow. Pachpute was a Minister in the Congress, NCP regime. But he switched over from the NCP to join the BJP ahead of the 2014 Assembly polls. He, however, failed to retain the Shrigonda Assembly constituency.