The man said to have confronted Ajit Pawar Wednesday denies the latter ever threatened villagers in Masalwadi. Sandeep Thombre, 24, agrees he had questioned Pawar at a “casual meeting” about water promises not kept but says he has no clue about the alleged threat — that the village wouldn’t get water unless it elected his cousin Supriya Sule from Baramati.
“It’s wrong,” he told The Indian Express Sunday. “Dada did not threaten us that he will cut off water nor did he direct anybody to pick me up. Also, we have no serious water issue in the village as such.” Yet he added, “Dada has solved all our problems in the past and I am sure he will solve the water issue also.”
Other villagers too deny the threat and residents of the neighbouring villages say this is because they can’t afford to offend Pawars. “They are already troubled by lack of water,” says a resident of Moregaon, 5 km away.
Sule too refuses to accept Pawar made the threat. “My brother has not issued any threat to anybody. My brother is innocent,” Sule told The Indian Express. “A small incident at a village has been blown out of proportion.”
Asked why she and Ajit Pawar didn’t make their denials immediately after the controversy broke, Sule said, “There was no need to keep issuing clarifications for things which we haven’t done… Since the complaint has been made, the police are looking into the matter, the Election Commission is looking into the matter, the court will look into the matter if it is placed before it.”
Sule’s rival in the constituency, Mahadev Jankar, slammed the Pune rural police which in less than 48 hours gave Pawar a clean chit. “The police investigation was bogus, but the audio clip in which Ajit Pawar threatens Masalwadi villagers is genuine,” he said, demanding a narco test on Pawar.
With Manoj More in Pune