Updated: October 29, 2021 3:59:22 am
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) Thursday searched several places in Mumbai and Pune, including the residence of Jagdish Kadam, cousin of Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, in connection with its probe into the alleged Rs 25,000 crore fraud at the Maharashtra State Co-operative (MSC) Bank.
Kadam is a director at Daund Sugar Private Limited, a company that has come under the scanner of ED in the case.
The ED case pertaining to the alleged fraud at MSC Bank originates from a criminal PIL filed on January 28, 2019 before the Bombay High Court. The PIL has alleged that the then top executives — chairman, MDs, directors, CEOs and managerial staff — of MSC Bank as well as office-bearers and directors of Sakhar Karkhanas, Soot Girnis and other processing units were given loans in a fraudulent manner by the bank and, in the process, several illegalities were committed.
In September 2019, a month before the Maharashtra Assembly polls, the ED had registered a money laundering case against NCP chief Sharad Pawar and his nephew Ajit Pawar in connection with the alleged scam.
On October 7, the Income Tax (I-T) department had searched the directors of four sugar mills in the state, including Daund Sugar, for alleged evasion of taxes. Subsequently on October 16, the tax department in a statement without naming Pawar or his kin said it has unearthed unaccounted income of Rs 184 crore from its October 7 searches.
The tax agency said the unaccounted funds have been used for “acquisition of various assets such as an office building at a prime locality in Mumbai, flat in posh locality in Delhi, resort in Goa, agricultural lands in Maharashtra and investments in sugar mills”.
Earlier in July, the ED had provisionally attached land, machinery and buildings of Jarandeshwar Sahkari Sugar Karkhana (Jarandeshwar SSK) at Satara, worth Rs 65.75 crore, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in the case.
According to the ED probe, MSC Bank sold Jarandeshwar SSK in 2010 through an auction at a lower price than the fair value, without following any rules. At that time, Ajit Pawar was a member of the board of the bank. The central agency has said that Jarandeshwar SSK was purchased by Guru Commodity Services Private Limited and was immediately leased to Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Private Limited, where Sparkling Soil Private Limited — a company linked to Ajit Pawar and his wife — is a majority shareholder.
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