AS THE Maha Vikas Aghadi takes charge in Maharashtra, all eyes will be on how the Shiv Sena-led government deals with various cases registered against leaders of its allies NCP and Congress.
When NPC leader Ajit Pawar was the water resources minister in the Congress-NCP government (2009-14) and chairman of the Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation, several allegations of irregularities were received in regard to irrigation projects. Following pleas filed before the court, a court-monitored investigation is currently being carried out by the Maharashtra ACB.
STATUS: While so far 24 FIRs have been registered, Ajit has not been directly named in any of the cases. However, then ACB chief Sanjay Barve had filed an affidavit in 2018 saying that Ajit had intervened in the process of awarding irrigation contracts. So far, probes into only 212 of the 2,654 contracts have been completed.
The Adarsh Housing Society, a 31-storyed building in Mumbai’s Colaba meant for the welfare of war widows and defence personnel, was allegedly used by politicians, bureaucrats and military officers to get themselves flat allotted at below market rates. CBI had filed an FIR in the case and named 14 retired and serving defence personnel, bureaucrats and politicians, including former state CM and Congress leader Ashok Chavan as accused. Chavan was forced to step down as CM after his name surfaced. While then Governor Vidayasagar Rao granted sanction to prosecute Chavan, the Bombay High Court in 2017 quashed the sanction.
STATUS: The CBI filed a chargesheet in 2012. Trial yet to begin.
* Following the CBI case, ED filed a money laundering case in 2012. It named 14 people, including Chavan, under the PMLA Act.
STATUS: Last week, ED officials went to Adarsh society to measure the size of the flats. The agency said it was part of the investigation in the FIR registered in 2012. It plans to file the first chargesheet soon.
MAHARASHTRA SADAN SCAM
The ACB registered a case against NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal and other accused for allegedly causing huge losses to the state government by leasing out a plot in Delhi to a private developer at a very low rate, in turn receiving huge kickbacks. Bhujbal was then the PWD minister.
STATUS: ACB filed a chargesheet against Bhujbal in March 2016. Draft charges were submitted before the court in September, this year. Charges are yet to be framed.
* The ED later registered a case against Bhujbal alleging that he received kickbacks for awarding various government contracts, including the Maharashtra Sadan contract, worth Rs 870 crore. Part of this money, the ED had claimed, was parked abroad and routed into India through various shell companies located across the country.
STATUS: Bhujbal was arrested by ED in March 2016 was granted bail in March this year. ED has filed a chargesheet but trial is yet to begin.
MAHARASHTRA STATE COOPERATIVE BANK SCAM
In August this year, based on a Bombay High Court order, the Mumbai Police EOW registered an FIR against NCP leader Ajit Pawar, along with 70 others, for allegedly causing losses of Rs 1,000 crore to the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) between 2007- 2011. Earlier, an inspection by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), in connection to losses suffered by MSCB, had found Ajit and several directors of the bank breaching rules, resulting in losses.
STATUS: An ACP-rank officer is investigating the case. No arrests have been made.
* After the EOW, the ED registered an FIR against NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Ajit on alleged charges of money laundering.
STATUS: Investigation underway.
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