The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached properties of a sugar mill in Satara worth Rs 65.75 crore linked to deputy Chief Minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar in connection with the Rs 25,000 crore Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank (MSCB) scam case.
In a press release, the agency has said that it has attached the properties, including land, building, plant and machinery of the Jarandeshwar Sahakari Sugar Karkhana (Jarandeshwar SSK) situated at Chimangaon, Koregaon, Satara. “The assets are currently held in the name of M/s Guru Commodity Services Pvt. Ltd. and leased to M/s Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Pvt. Ltd. M/s Sparkling Soil Pvt. Ltd. is holding majority shares of M/s Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Pvt. Ltd. Investigations revealed that M/s Sparkling Soil Pvt. Ltd. is a related company to Ajit Pawar, Deputy Chief Minister of State of Maharashtra and Sunetra Ajit Pawar,” the ED stated.
The Central agency said that its probe had revealed that the MSCB had auctioned Jarandeshwar SSK in 2010 at an undervalued price and without following due procedure. Ajit Pawar was one of the prominent and influential members of the MSCB’s board of directors at the relevant time, it added. The SSK was purchased by M/s Guru Commodity Services Pvt. Ltd. and was immediately leased to M/s Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Pvt. Ltd., which is presently operating the Jarandeshwar SSK. The major part of the funds utilised towards the purchase of the said SSK was received from M/s Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Pvt. Ltd., which received the same from M/s Sparkling Soil Pvt. Ltd., a company related to Ajit Pawar and his wife, it stated in its release.
It said further that its probe revealed that M/s Guru Commodity Services Pvt. Ltd., which it claimed is a dummy company, was used to acquire the said SSK. But the SSK was actually controlled and run by M/s Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Pvt. Ltd. Further, the SSK, the agency said, had been used as a vehicle by M/s Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills to obtain a loan of approximately Rs 700 crore from the Pune District Central Co-operative Bank and others during the period from the year 2010 till date. Thus, the assets held in the name of M/s Guru Commodity Services Pvt. Ltd., leased to M/s Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Pvt. Ltd., being proceeds of crime, were provisionally attached, it said.
The ED had registered a complaint based on the FIR by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) in the case that had been registered on the directions of the Bombay High Court in 2019 upon a writ petition alleging corruption in the state’s district cooperative banks. These banks allegedly gave illegal loans to sugar factories and then sold the latter to their own kith and kin at throwaway prices when they were unable to repay the loans, thus causing loss to the bank.