NCP leader Ajit Pawar
NCP leader Ajit Pawar

Mumbai: After the First Information Report was filed and a Special Investigative Team was constituted to investigate into the scam of the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank, the sword of arrest is now hanging over former Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and other directors.

Pawar is under pressure and had almost skipped the party mass outreach programme Shiv Swarajya Yatra. The fate of Pawar depends upon the judgment in the Supreme Court, where the Bombay High Court judgment about filing the FIR against the directors have been challenged.

The SC is scheduled to hear the case on September 2. The FIR has termed this as Rs 25,000 crore scam. After the Bombay high court order, the Maharashtra police filed an FIR against more than 70 directors of the MSC Bank, including heavyweight NCP leader Ajit Pawar too.

The developments has given Pawar sleepless nights. On the next day of filing the FIR, Pawar reached Mumbai on August 27. He had a series of meetings with his lawyers at leader of opposition Dhananjay Munde’s home. He is worried, as he fears he could be arrested like P Chidambaram or Chhagan Bhujbal.

The arrest of Bhujabal helped BJP prove they are fighting against corruption. Despite a huge hue and cry against Ajit Pawar in the irrigation scam, the BJP failed to arrest or punish him.

This has tarnished the reputation of CM Devendra Fadnavis and his government. The High Court directions have given the government a golden opportunity to corner Sharad Pawar, Ajit Pawar and NCP.

“The investigation is now on after the SIT under the Economic Offences Wing was set up. The SIT may anytime summon Pawar and others for interrogation. Pawar’s custody can also be sought to have a detailed interrogation,” a source told FPJ.

“This issue is a very sensitive issue. This has political benefits for BJP too. Therefore, the government may take pro-active steps in this case. If the SC do not give any relief, Pawar and other may have to spend some days in custody too. This will also provide a good political campaign issue for BJP,” a person who is closely associated with the case said.

Charge-sheet may take 2-3 years

The High Court orders have helped the state government to investigate this scam from at least 2001 to to date. Earlier, the inquiry announced by then Chief minister, Prithviraj Chavan, under the cooperative Act has only given a window to investigate the scam during the period from 2008 to 2013, as the board of directors was dissolved in 2013.

“The filing of charge-sheet will take at least 2-3 years. Then, the case will be filed in a lower court. The lower court will take at least 4-5 years. Then, the judgment of this court will be challenged in HC and later in SC too.

It means, the legal process may take at least 20 years. Therefore, the actual punishment will only be the political cornering of Pawar and other directors,” a lawyer associated with this case said.

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