A day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) registered a case of alleged money laundering against him, NCP leader and former union minister Sharad Pawar Wednesday said that he will present himself willingly before the ED office on Friday.
Addressing a press conference, Pawar said, “I do not want the ED to believe that I am running away from being investigated. Because of the state elections, I will be travelling to as many districts as possible next month. In this situation, I don’t want the ED to believe that I am not being available or have gone invisible. I will present myself willingly to the ED.”
Along with Pawar, the ED had registered a case against his nephew Ajit Pawar and several others including Anandrao Adsul (Shiv Sena), Jayant Patil (PWP), Diliprao Deshmukh and Madan Patil (Congress), Ishwarlal Jain and Shivajirao Nalawade (NCP).
The Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) was registered Monday, ED sources said Tuesday, adding that the case is based on an FIR filed by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police in connection with alleged irregularities in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank.
Questioning the timing of the ED move, which comes days before the October 21 Maharashtra Assembly elections, Pawar said, “I will be mostly out of Mumbai for Assembly poll campaigning. The agency officials shouldn’t misunderstand that
I am unavailable.”
He added that he believes in the Constitution of India. “Maharashtra follows the ideology of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. We don’t know bowing down before the Delhi
takht (throne),” Pawar said.
On Tuesday, the NCP had described the ED action as “political vendetta” with Pawar stating that it was prompted by the strong support for his party across the state.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today sought to dispel the perception that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) case against NCP president Sharad Pawar was politically motivated as it was registered in the run-up to the next month’s assembly polls.
He also clarified that the BJP-led state government had no role in the ED booking the veteran politician for money laundering.
“The state government doesn’t harbour any revengeful approach,” the chief minister said.
“I was never a director of any cooperative bank. However, if they have filed a case against me, I welcome it. I was expecting such an action after the response that I received during my recent tour of Maharashtra,” Pawar had said.