4 Jul 2023

Maharashtra Political Crisis: What Will Happen Now In Corruption Case Against Ajit Pawar And His Associates?

Mumbai: In a dramatic political development in Maharashtra on July 2, nine NCP MLAs, including Ajit Pawar, joined the BJP-Shiv Sena (Shinde) coalition government.

Interestingly, the BJP had accused these MLAs including Ajit Pawar of corruption. But Ajit Pawar has now become the Deputy Chief Minister of the state. Some of MLAs of his camp have become ministers.

However, investigative agencies were behind some of these leaders. There were several allegations against these leaders who switched sides from Sharad Pawar and joined the government. 

Devendra Fadnavis, who made serious allegations of corruption against Ajit and made statements like Ajit Dada Chakki peecing (implying Ajit Pawar will have to do hard work in jail), is equally included in the government as Deputy Chief Minister.

ED probed corruption in sugar mills

Serious allegations of corruption were leveled against Ajit by the BJP, while the ED's noose started tightening on him in the investigation of cases related to corruption in sugar mills.

In March last year, the Income Tax Department raided the house of relatives of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. Not only this, the I-T Department had also confiscated some properties. Seizure action was taken on Jarandeshwar sugar mill belonging to Ajit Pawar.

In this case, Ajit Pawar was accused by BJP leader Kirit Somaiya. Somaiya had said that Ajit Pawar's financial business is amazing.

Kirit Somaiya had alleged that the builders had benami assets worth more than a hundred crores in his and his relatives' accounts.

The state's Anti-Corruption Bureau had given a clean chit to Ajit Pawar in the irrigation scam case. But, in May 2020, the Enforcement Directorate started a fresh investigation into the Vidarbha irrigation scam case.

Benami financial transactions of 184 cr detected

Along with all this, the Income Tax Department also raided the company of Ajit Pawar's son Parth Pawar.

The Income Tax Department had claimed that in this raid on Ajit Pawar's relatives, benami financial transactions of Rs 184 crore were detected.

In April 2023, the ED filed a charge sheet against Ajit Pawar and a company linked to Sunetra Pawar in connection with the State Cooperative Bank scam.

But the names of Ajit Pawar and Sunetra Pawar were not included in this. Since then, the discussion of rebellion had started in NCP. After this news came to the fore, Ajit Pawar gave his clarification publicly.

Chhagan Bhujbal was arrested in 2016

Since 2014, the investigative agencies were tightening their noose on Chhagan Bhujbal.

In March 2016, he was arrested in New Delhi for alleged embezzlement and accumulation of unaccounted wealth in the construction of Maharashtra Sadan.

After his arrest, he was sent to Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai. Despite many efforts, he did not get bail for the next two years.

However, in September 2021, Chhagan Bhujbal was acquitted in the case of alleged embezzlement of the Maharashtra House.

The Bombay Sessions Court had acquitted six accused including Chhagan Bhujbal. Although the Anti-Corruption Bureau has claimed to have evidence against Bhujbal and his family in the alleged Maharashtra Sadan embezzlement case.

Apart from this case, separate cases are registered against Chhagan Bhujbal and the people associated with him and their hearing is pending.

ED had booked Bhujbal

The ED had also registered a separate case against him alleging money laundering.

In January this year, a social activist filed an appeal in the Bombay High Court against the 2021 court order, which is pending hearing.

A case of Anti-Corruption Bureau is pending in a special court against Bhujbal in the corruption case related to Mumbai University.

Charges against Praful Patel

Praful Patel did not take oath on July 2, but he was present at the swearing-in ceremony.

Praful Patel was the Union Aviation Minister during the UPA government. Aviation lobbyist Deepak Talwar was helping foreign airlines in 2008-09 during his ministership.

He secured some high-grossing air routes for three international airlines. Deepak Talwar got Rs 272 crore for that. Air India had to suffer a lot due to this.

The ED had alleged that all these transactions took place when Praful Patel was a Union minister.

Along with this, the ED was probing the purchase of 111 aircraft worth Rs 70,000 crore and the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines.

In this case, the ED had issued a notice to Praful Patel in June 2019. He was also called for questioning.

Shiv Sena MLAs who went with Shinde were also under scrutiny of investigative agencies

In 2022, when Eknath Shinde rebelled to get out of the Mahavikas Aghadi, such MLAs were also involved with him, on whom the investigative agencies were tightening their noose.

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