Since the day the NCP got divided between Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar, the pressure has mounted on those leaders who still remain with senior Pawar. Ajit launched scorching attacks on his uncle and advised him to support the BJP but senior Pawar gave him befitting replies on various occasions.
The Enforcement Directorate has now searched the premises of Baramati Agro, a company owned by MLA Rohit Pawar, grandnephew of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, and linked entities as part of a money laundering probe into the alleged Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank scam. Various locations in Baramati, Pune, Pimpri, and Aurangabad are being searched. The office of Baramati Agro in Baramati town is also being covered.
The ED launched the probe in response to a FIR filed by Mumbai Police’s Economic Offence Wing (EOW) in 2019 under various sections of the IPC and the PMLA Act. The FIR was filed on the orders of the Bombay High Court in response to claims that the cooperative sugar plants were unfairly sold at low rates to linked organisations by then-officials and directors of Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) without following necessary procedure. The EOW submitted a closure report in the case at the Mumbai Sessions Court in 2020, while the ED filed an intervention in opposition to the closure report.
The ED announced in July 2021 that it had seized assets worth more than ₹65 crore, including land, buildings, and machinery from Jarandeshwar Sahakari Sugar Mill in Maharashtra’s Satara district. The seizure was made under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) of 2002 as part of an investigation into the MSCB scam. The assets, which were registered under Guru Commodity Services Pvt Ltd. and leased to Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Pvt Ltd., were seized by the ED as part of the investigation.
During its investigation, the ED discovered that Sparkling Soil Pvt. Ltd., a company associated with Ajit Pawar, the former deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, and his wife Sunetra Pawar, held a significant majority of shares in Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills.
The Mumbai Police EOW told the court for MLAs and MPs in October 2022 that it has begun investigating the concerns highlighted by protest petitions and the ED. The probe against his firm pertains to allegations of “diversion” of funds and deposit of earnest funds by a company that bid for the purchase of a Maharashtra-based ailing cooperative sugar factory (CSF).
Rohit Pawar, 38, is the NCP MLA from Karjat-Jamkhed in Maharashtra and the owner and CEO of Baramati Agro. Rohit is the nephew of Baramati MP Supriya Sule and Ajit Pawar, the state’s Deputy Chief Minister and a Baramati MLA. Rohit Pawar was very vocal when his uncle joined the BJP. He and Supriya Sule were hell-bent on defending Sharad Pawar’s stand.
Discussions about Sharad Pawar contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Baramati have taken place. Supriya Sule has also reacted to this. The family has been working in this constituency for ages. And generations. Rohit is the face of progressive thought, having preserved and promoted Maharashtrian culture for generations.
Since the BJP returned to power, and before that, central agencies raided only opposition leaders and morally broke them to come to the table. They succeeded in grabbing many politicians through pressure politics. Let’s see how Rohit Pawar comes out of this mess and what mandate votes have for him.