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Won’t bow before Delhi, says Sharad Pawar

Reacting on Enforcement Directorate move to booked Sharad Pawar and his nephew in a money laundering case, the NCP chief said that he will not “bow down before Delhi” and will go to the ED office on Friday.

“Maharashtra follows the ideology of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. We don’t know bowing down before the Delhi takht (throne),” Pawar said at a press conference in Mumbai .

The NCP chief and his nephew Ajit were booked by the ED on Tuesday in connection with an alleged Rs 25,000-crore Maharashtra State Co-operative money laundering case.

Pawar said he will be going to the Mumbai office of the Enforcement directorate to face inquiry and give his statement in the matter on his own. He said he took the decision as he will be busy for next one month in campaigning of the Maharashtra assembly elections scheduled on October 21.

“There is a possibility that I won’t be able to reach ED office if they send for me. I don’t want any misunderstanding of the ED officers and thus decided to go to its office in Mumbai on my own on September 27,” the NCP chief said.

The NCP boss also questioned the timing of the central probe agency’s case just before the Maharashtra state polls. “People are smart enough to understand the timing of the action against me. The possibility of vendetta politics cannot be denied,” he added.

The ED has registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), equal to a first information report (FIR) filed by police, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act , according to the officials.

The case pertains to loans provided by Maharashtra State Co-operative (MSC) Bank to co-operative sugar factories, spinning mills and other processing units. It is alleged that top executives and office-bearers were given loans in a fraudulent way.

Most of the 48 directors of the MSC bank at the time when the alleged fraud was committed between 2001 and 2011, were elected representatives from various parties.

Pawar had said that he has never been director of any of the banks.

Ajit Pawar and others had moved the Supreme Court earlier this month to quash the proceedings in the matter but were unable to get any relief. The top court asked the Mumbai Police to conduct a free and fair probe.

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