Satara: ED Attaches Jarandeshwar Sugar Factory Linked To Relative Of Ajit Pawar

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Pune, 2nd July 2021: The Jarandeshwar Co-operative Sugar Factory in Satara was seized by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a multi-crore financial malpractice case. This sugar factory belongs to the close associates of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. Therefore, it is being said that the action of ED is a direct blow to Ajit Pawar. The ED has seized assets worth Rs 65.75 crore.

In 2019, the ED had filed a case against NCP president Sharad Pawar and current Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar for alleged misappropriation of Rs 25,000 crore in the Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank. The ED has taken this action in this regard. Factory premises, buildings, factories and machinery were confiscated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Senior social activist Anna Hazare had filed a PIL in the Mumbai High Court against the state cooperative bank scam. The Mumbai Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) had also filed a case following the High Court order. The case has been registered under PMLA on the basis of an FIR registered in 2019. The sugar factory was in the possession of Rajendra Ghadge, a close associate of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.

The Jarandeshwar Sugar Factory in Satara was put up for auction due to bad debts. In 2010, Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank auctioned off the factory and sold it to Guru Commodity Services Pvt. Ltd. The transaction took place at a much lower rate than the market price and the ED has alleged non-compliance with the rules in the auction process.

According to the ED, Guru Commodities leased the factory to Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Pvt. Ltd. Sparkling Soil Pvt Ltd has the largest stake in the factory. Investigations have revealed that Sparkling Soil Pvt Ltd is associated with Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and his wife Sunetra Pawar, the ED said in a press note.

The factory is said to have been auctioned off due to bad debts. However, Shalinitai Patil had alleged that Ajit Pawar had grabbed the factory from her. Former MLA and former Revenue Minister Shalinitai Patil was the founder and chairman of the factory.

Meanwhile, Raju Shetti, who had also filed complaints against the cooperative sugar mills, said, “I feel that ED’s action is politically motivated. Action has to be done and we have been demanding that for years. We have raised this issue through protest and in court many times. There are 43 sugar mills in Maharashtra which were sold at a minimum price and a total of 89 people are responsible for it. Five years ago I filed a petition in the Bombay High Court unfortunately it has not come on board yet. Court had said that an FIR must be filed but the police did not initiate the investigation. I reached out to ED, Income Tax department and SEBI. I raised the money laundering issue as well as it was not clear from where these people got this much money to purchase factories/mills.

This is a larger scam as the government’s money, common people’s money has been misused. I am still of the opinion that a thorough investigation must be conducted in this matter. Evidence based on which ED is conducting an investigation today was submitted to ED by myself almost five years back. In this scam leaders from all political parties of Maharashtra are involved, not even a single party is left out of it. I know ED only does the act of investigation to blackmail those people who create problems for Delhi (central government). I know the same will happen in this case as well and once a meeting happens in Delhi investigation, in this case, will also be stopped.”