Weeks before Maharashtra goes to polls, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar was yesterday – Tuesday, Sep 24 – booked by Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case along with his nephew Ajit Pawar and 70 other officials of the Maharashtra State Co-operative (MSC) Bank.
In his reaction at the move, Sharad Pawar reportedly said he would have been ‘surprised’ if there had not been such action against him given the ‘huge’ response he received during his Maharashtra Assembly election campaign. Maharashtra goes to polls on October 21.
Pawar said that he would be “pleased” to go to jail as he had “never experienced it”. The NCP leader has been named in a complaint but is not listed as an accused in the police report on what the ED says is a Rs. 25,000-crore scam involving the sanction of loans by the MSC Bank.
“A case has been registered. I have no problem if I have to go to jail. I’ll be pleased as I’ve never had this experience. If someone plans to send me to jail, I welcome it,” Sharad Pawar, 78, said, as per a NDTV report.
Pawar had earlier “thanked” the Enforcement Directorate for naming him in connection with a bank of which he was not a member and where he was not a part of decision-making.
The Enforcement Directorate filed a case naming the Pawars based on a case filed after a Bombay High Court ordered the police to charge Ajit Pawar and 75 others in the alleged scam.
The Maharashtra State Cooperative (MSC) Bank is controlled largely by NCP leaders and people close to them.
The complaint alleges that banking laws and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines were violated when loans were distributed to office bearers and directors of local co-operative sugar factories (CSFs), sugar factories and spinning mills in Maharashtra that had weak financial profiles, as well as the bank’s then top executives. Many of those who had sanctioned the loans were allegedly linked to the owners of the sugar mills.
The CSFs subsequently turned sick due to alleged mismanagement and underutilisation of capacity. They were sold by the board at a price below the reserve price offering wrongful gains to the purchaser.
ED is probing why these CSFs were sold at that price and at a price favouring the purchaser with no rules followed to fix the reserve price in some cases.
The alleged fraud was committed between 2001 and 2011 and is pegged at Rs 25,000 crore.
Most of MSC Bank’s 48 directors at the time were elected representatives from various political parties. These directors included Ajit Pawar, Anand Adsul and Dilip Deshmukh, among others.
After the high court order, a case was filed last month by the economic offence wing of the Maharashtra police. Based on the case, the Enforcement Directorate started a money-laundering investigation.
According to sources, many of the sugar factories have become sick and were sold at throwaway prices. Those who bought them were allegedly linked to the bank’s directors.
Pawar has questioned the timing of the case as campaigning picks up for the assembly elections that will pit the ruling BJP and its ally Shiv Sena against the opposition Congress-NCP alliance.
“I would have been surprised had such action not been taken against me after the kind of response I receive during my visits to various districts of the state,” he said.
Last week, Pawar had taken a swipe at Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who had targeted him at a rally and questioned what he had done for Maharashtra. “One leader from their party (BJP) questioned what Sharad Pawar has done. I would like to say one thing, Sharad Pawar has never been to jail for whatever good or bad things he did. Those who were in jail for months are asking what I have done,” Pawar retorted at a rally in the same region, apparently referring to a case against Shah, in which he was discharged.
Ramesh Bidhuri remarks row: BSP MP Danish Ali writes to PM Modi, calls for suitable punishment
Danish Ali asked PM Modi to make a public statement from his office condemning Bidhuri’s behaviour and reaffirming commitment towards maintaining the highest standards of parliamentary proceedings.
BSP MP Danish Ali who was targeted with derogatory remarks by BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri in Lok Sabha, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday seeking suitable punishment for Bidhuri. In the letter, the BSP MP also demanded enhanced security for himself.
He mentioned that the recent incident in the Lok Sabha during the special session of the Parliament was not just an attack on him as an individual but an attack on the very essence of democracy. Expressing grave concern over the incident, Danish Ali called on the Prime Minister as the Leader of the House and asked him to take note of the incident.
The BSP leader underlined that the situation has significantly worsened in the Parliament since September 21 and that it has cast a shadow over the parliamentary decorum and democratic functioning of the esteemed House of which he is privileged to be a member.
Acknowledging that PM Narendra Modi was not present during the incident, BSP MP claimed that Bidhuri used inappropriate language while referring to the Prime Minister during his address. He mentioned that he raised an objection to the use of such language in relation to the Prime Minister even if it was in a quotation.
Danish Ali further added that it was evident from the House proceedings that none of the members of the ruling party objected to his stance against the use of unparliamentary language directed to the Prime Minister. He elaborated that when he pointed out to Bidhuri’s use of unparliamentary language towards the Prime Minister, the BJP MP got rattled and reacted strongly, possibly realising his mistake.
In the letter, Ali also mentioned some of the objectionable and derogatory words that Bidhuri has used against him. In addition, Ali also said that members like BJP MP Nishikant Dubey have gone as far as to disseminate absolute falsehoods against him by claiming that he made certain remarks which provoked Bidhuri when it is clear that those remarks were made by the BJP lawmaker himself during his address.
BSP MP Danish Ali also made a series of demands to PM Modi through his letter. He asked the Prime Minister to make a public statement from his office condemning such behaviour and reaffirming the commitment towards maintaining the highest standards of parliamentary proceedings. Furthermore, he also demanded accountability to be fixed at the earliest on the reprehensible conduct of Bidhuri and called for suitable punishment.
Amid AAP-Congress row in Punjab, Arvind Kejriwal says his party is committed to INDIA bloc
Congress Punjab unit accused the AAP government in the state of indulging in political vendetta
Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal on Friday affirmed that his party is committed to supporting the INDIA Opposition bloc. He stated that his party will not part ways with the INDIA alliance. Kejriwal’s statement follows amidst a standoff between Aam Aadmi party and Congress in Punjab.
The rift between both the political parties erupted after the arrest of Punjab Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira on Thursday. The Punjab Congress leader was arrested from his Sector 5 house in Chandigarh in connection with a 2015 drugs case.
Apparently referring to the fall out, Arvind Kejriwal mentioned that the AAP is committed to the INDIA alliance and that they will not break away from the alliance. He added that they are committed to fulfilling the dharma of the alliance.
Meanwhile, Congress Punjab unit accused the AAP government in the state of indulging in political vendetta after the arrest of their leader. However, the AAP in Punjab has denied the allegation, mentioning that the action against the Bholath legislator was taken according to the law.
On being asked about no announcement on the seat sharing formula in the INDIA alliance, Arvind Kejriwal remarked that he hopes that it would be ready soon. Speaking about the opposition INDIA alliance not projecting a prime ministerial candidate yet, Arvind Kejriwal said that his aim is to empower every citizen and create a system where all 1.4 billion people of this country feel like they are the prime minister. He added that they need to empower the people and they don’t need to empower any one individual.
On being questioned about the drug menace, Arvind Kejriwal noted that yesterday he heard that the Punjab Police arrested a particular leader, Sukhpal Singh Khaira in connection with drugs but he doesn’t have the details regarding the matter. Nonetheless, he mentioned that the Bhagwant Mann government and the AAP government are committed to ending the drug menace and that nobody will be spared.
AIADMK leader KP Munusamy says party will form new alliance after ending ties with BJP
KP Munusamy, a senior leader of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) said, the party will form a separate alliance for the upcoming elections.
KP Munusamy, a senior leader of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) said, the party will form a separate alliance for the upcoming elections. The Palaniswami’s party ended its tie with the BJP and withdrew its coalition with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) three days earlier.
According to reports, KP Munusamy further said that the party has not asked to remove K Annamalai, the BJP state president.
Speaking on the removal of the BJP party’s state president, Munusamy said that it is childish to even ask if such a large party like AIADMK would demand anything like that. The party will never commit a mistake like that, he added.
He further clarified that his party’s leaders are not someone who would tell another party how it should function.
Speaking on the relationship with NDA and joining the alliance in future, Munusamy said Stalin and his son Udhayanidhi are claiming that this is a drama.
Stalin and his son Udhayanidhi are only speaking in such a manner because they have a fear after we broke ties with BJP, the AIADMK leader said.
The AIADMK on September 25, announced that it is breaking the alliance with the BJP, ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The AIADMK unanimously passed a party resolution in this regard.
Announcing the decision, AIADMK deputy coordinator K P Munusamy said the BJP state leadership has been continuously making unnecessary remarks about their former leaders, their general secretary Edapaddi Palaniswami and their cadres for the past one year.
The decision to part ways follows months of speculation over the strained relationship between the AIADMK and the BJP. Notably, Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai had repeatedly commented against AIADMK leaders and that did not earn him any wrath as the BJP was seemingly fine with Annamalai’s assault on the AIADMK leadership.
Even though the AIADMK’s relationship with Annamalai had not been smooth for more than a year, the latter’s observations on DMK founder CN Annadurai, the AIADMK is a breakaway from the DMK and founded by MG Ramachandran after Annadurai’s death, for the last couple of weeks, had provoked the latest round of spat between the two parties.