The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached assets worth over Rs 65 crore including properties linked to a company controlled by Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar in connection with the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) scam.
According to the reports, the ED provisionally attached the land, machinery and buildings worth Rs 65.75 crore of Jarandeshwar Sahkari Sugar Karkhana (Jarandeshwar SSK) at Satara under the Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) Act in a case related to the fraud at Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB).
As per ED, the funds used to purchase the Jarandeshwar SSK were routed through another sugar mill, which is in turn funded by Sparkling Soil Private Limited, a company linked to Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and his wife Sunetra Pawar.
In September 2019, ahead of the assembly polls in Maharashtra, the Enforcement Directorate had registered a money laundering case against NCP chief Sharad Pawar and his nephew Ajit Pawar in connection with a Rs 25,000-crore scam at MSCB. During the investigation, the ED had found that MSCB sold Jarandeshwar SSK in 2010 in an auction at a lower price than fair value.
Auction of sugar mill violated SARFAESI Act: Enforcement Directorate
The auction had violated all the rules of the SARFAESI Act, said ED, adding that the Cooperative Sugar Mill was sold at throw-away prices by MSCB to directors and private people.
NCP leader Ajit Pawar was on the board of the bank at that time. The agency had found that Jarandeshwar Cooperative Sugar Mill was purchased by Guru Commodity Services Private Limited, who immediately leased to Ajit Pawar-linked Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Private Limited.
“The major part of the funds utilised towards purchase of SSK was received from Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Private Limited, which received the same from Sparkling Soil, a company related to Ajit Pawar and his wife,” the ED said in a statement.
The ED had found that Guru Commodity Services is a “dummy company” created only to acquire Jarandeshwar SSK. The ED said that Jarandeshwar SSK had been used as a vehicle by Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills to obtain a loan of Rs 700 crore from Pune District Central Cooperative Bank & Ors from 2010 till now.