Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank Scam: NCP MLA Rohit Pawar Summoned By Enforcement Directorate In Money Laundering Case

Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank Scam: NCP MLA Rohit Pawar Summoned By Enforcement Directorate In Money Laundering Case

The ED recently conducted searches at premises associated with Baramati Agro, a company owned by Rohit Pawar.

Ashish SinghUpdated: Saturday, January 20, 2024, 08:41 AM IST
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Rohit Pawar |

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned Nationalist Congress Party (NCP- Sharad Pawar) MLA Rohit Pawar and grandnephew of NCP Mr Pawar Sr in connection with the Rs 25,000 cr Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) scam. He has been asked to remain present before the ED officials on January 24, ED sources confirmed on Friday.

The ED wishes to question Rohit Pawar over affairs of his company Baramati Agro, which is allegedly linked to Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) scam.

Pawar's Involvement In The Case

Rohit Pawar served as the CEO of Baramati Agro Limited. Earlier this month, the agency conducted raids on two offices of Baramati Agro in Pimpri Chinchwad and Pune. Additionally, searches were carried out at the premises of Kannad Sugar Mill in Sambhaji Nagar, the premises of Hitech Engineering Corporation, and locations associated with Rajesh Ingavle, the director of Hi-tech Engineering Corporation India Ltd., as well as the premises of Sanjay Awate, also from the same company. Furthermore, the premises of another firm, Samruddhi Sugar Mill, underwent investigation. The investigation is part of the probe into the sale of Kannad Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana (SSK) to Baramati Agro.

The money laundering investigation into Pawar's firm Baramati agro is related to charges of "diversion" of cash and the deposit of earnest payments by a company that bid on the purchase of an ailing Maharashtra-based cooperative sugar factory (CSF) Kannada Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana (SSK).

According to the official sources during investigation the ED found several alleged irregularities in the sale of Kannad Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana(SSK). The agency suspects that Baramati Agro connived with Hitech to bid for Kannada SSK and manipulated the auction process to wrongfully win the bid.Alongside with Baramati Agro, two other companies, including Hitech Engg. Corporation India Ltd and Samruddhi sugar private limited took part in the auction proceedings. Upon examining the bank accounts, it was discovered that on August 25, 2012, Hitech Engg. received an amount of Rs. 5 crores from Baramati Agro Ltd. Two days later, this sum was utilized by the firm as Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) to participate in the auction for the sale of the Kannad SSK in question.

The said factory was taken over by Baramati Agro at ₹50 crores which is significantly undervalued price and suspected to be a result of a manipulated auction under the Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank, suspects the anti- money laundering agency.

The MSCB scam case relates to loans given to sugar factories allegedly without following procedure by officials of the MSCB even after they turned into Non-Performing Assets and their subsequent sale to kin of the accused below market value.

About MSCB Scam Investigation

The probe in the case was initiated after a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed before the Bombay High Court into the alleged irregularities at the bank. An FIR was first registered by the Economic Offences Wing and the ED too filed a case of alleged money laundering in 2019.

Earlier, in April last year the central agency had filed its first chargesheet in the case against three- against three, Guru Commodity Services Pvt Ltd, Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Pvt Ltd and chartered accountant Yogesh Bagrecha. The ED had alleged links of deputy CM Ajit Pawar and his wife to the two companies but they were not named then.

In August, 2023 the ED filed two supplementary chargesheets in connection with the MSCB case naming 11 more persons as accused, including NCP Sharad Pawar-led faction's MLA Prajakt Tanpure. The others named in the chargesheet include former NCP MLA Prasad Tanpure, Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena former MLA Arjun Khotkar and former Congress minister Ranjeet Deshmukh. Others include Subhash Deshmukh, industrialist Sameer Mulay and construction businessman Jugal Tapadia and many companies.

Rohit Pawar's Reply

"Due to the news of ED many people called/messaged from the state. Thanks to all of them, but there is no reason to worry. If there is no fault of any officer, it is our duty to cooperate with them as they are only following orders and doing their work. We have cooperated with all the systems till date and will continue to do so.Hence the request to #ED that the issue of Maratha reservation is important and protestors are coming to Mumbai from all over the state. In this background, instead of 24th, I am prepared to call the inquiry on 22nd or 23rd. I hope ED will accept this request," said Pawar in a post on his social media account.

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