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ED seizes Rs 50 crore assets of mill tied to Pawar kin

Published:

NEW DELHI:

ED

has attached

assets

worth Rs 50 crore belonging to

Kannad Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana Ltd

, which is

owned

by

NCP

(Sharad Pawar) MLA Rohit Pawar’s company Baramati Agro Ltd.
The assets include 161.30 acres of land, plant and machinery, and the building of the sugar unit in Kannad, Aurangabad. ED’s action is part of its probe into a money-laundering case related to the Rs 25,000-crore Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) scam. The attached assets were acquired over a decade ago through a questionable auction process, ED alleged.
Speaking to TOI, Rohit Pawar questioned ED’s action and said that he would challenge it in court. “ED’s action is completely illegal. The closure report filed by the economic offences wing of Mumbai police is already with the court. My name is nowhere in the report. People involved include some BJP leaders, besides those who recently joined govt. Interestingly, none of them are being questioned or summoned by ED.”
On Friday, ED issued a press release on the process undertaken by the bank to recover an outstanding loan of Rs 80.56 crore of Kannad SSK, which included taking possession of all the assets of SSK. “On August 30, 2012, MSCB conducted the auction of Kannad SSK by fixing a very low reserve price based on a questionable valuation report. Apart from Baramati Agro Ltd, two other parties entered the bidding process. The one with the highest bid was technically disqualified on a flimsy ground, whereas the other bidder was already a close business associate of Baramati Agro Ltd with no financial capacity or experience of running a sugar unit,” the release said. “Based on the investigation conducted and evidence collected so far, it has been established that the acquisition of Kannad SSK by Baramati Agro Ltd was illegal.”

ED’s money laundering case is based on an FIR registered by the economic offences wing of Mumbai police, registered on directions of Bombay HC in 2019. In the FIR, it was alleged that several loss-making cooperative sugar mills were sold fraudulently by MSCB board members (politicians-ministers) at throwaway prices to their relatives/private persons through rigged auctions.
In 2020, EOW filed its first closure report in the MSCB scam involving Ajit Pawar and other politicians, including Rohit. Later, in 2022, it filed an application to reopen the case and said it wanted to further probe some suspicious deals involving the Pawars, along with a few other transactions. The application also referred to ED’s probe into the money-laundering case linked to the scam. On Jan 20, EOW, through a special public prosecutor, submitted a closure report (C-summary) for the second time.
At the time of the first closure report, Ajit Pawar was deputy CM in the MVA government, whereas at the time of EOW’s application for seeking permission for further investigation, he was leader of opposition.

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