Amidst the interrogation of senior NCP leader Jayant Patil by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Mumbai, party chief Sharad Pawar made insinuations on Monday suggesting that the targeting of certain leaders could be a consequence of their failure to meet the "expectations" of the ruling establishment. Pawar expressed that despite the repercussions they may face, they will remain steadfast and unwavering in their chosen course.
During a press interaction in Pune, Pawar addressed the actions taken by the ED and other central investigative agencies against several members of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
Not ready to meet ruling party's "expectations", thus ED action: Pawar
“A possibility cannot be denied that the current dispensation has had some expectations from some 9-10 leaders of NCP. We are not ready to meet those expectations and are ready to pay the price for our stand. We will never leave the path we have chosen,” Pawar said.
“As some people could not digest this (NCP's stand), hence we have to suffer. But we are not worried about it,” he added.
Significantly, while commenting on the ED's summons issued Jayant Patil, the Maharashtra NCP chief, Pawar acknowledged that as a member of the opposition, encountering such hardships is inevitable and must be faced.
Deshmukh's incarceration best example of 'misuse of power': Pawar
“I have a list of some key 10 leaders who have faced inquiry. Some of them even faced action by these agencies," Pawar said when quizzed about Patil's questioning by ED.
“NCP leader (former home minister) Anil Deshmukh faced allegations of accepting ₹ 100 crore for an educational institute and had to spend 13-14 months in jail. Later, it was revealed that the amount received was ₹ 1.50 crore and not ₹ 100 crore. It underscores the level of exaggeration of allegations," Pawar said.
"People were shocked when they first heard about such allegations. Deshmukh was defamed. It is the best example of how to misuse power," Pawar added.
Pawar's swipe over revocation Param Bir Singh's sentence
When asked about the Maharashtra government's decision to lift the suspension of former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh (who is now retired), Pawar responded by stating, "If the state government goes deeper into the complaints and cases filed against Singh, it will be akin to the opening of Pandora's box. One should find out how many cases are pending against Singh.”
'Nawab Malik vindicated'
In reference to the CBI investigation involving former NCB zonal director Sameer Wankhede in the Cordelia cruise "drug bust" case, Pawar asserted that imprisoned NCP leader Nawab Malik has been vindicated.
“What Malik used to allege is turning out to be true. He has been harassed for speaking the truth,” Pawar said.
Deshmukh was granted bail by the Bombay High Court in December 2022 in a corruption case being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) after IPS officer Param Bir Singh (now retired) alleged in March 2021 that Deshmukh, then home minister, had given a target to police officers to collect ₹100 crore per month from restaurants and bars in Mumbai.
Deshmukh was arrested in November 2021 by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case. He is currently out on bail.
Malik, a former Maharashtra minister, was arrested on February 23, 2022, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) by the ED in a probe linked to the activities of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his aides.
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