Tight vigil, curbs in place at ED office in Mumbai ahead of Sharad Pawar visit

The former Union minister, named in a money-laundering case, has said he will visit the ED office at Ballard Pier in South Mumbai even though it has not summoned him yet.

Published: 27th September 2019 11:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th September 2019 12:52 PM   |  A+A-

NCP chief Sharad Pawar

NCP chief Sharad Pawar (File Photo | PTI)

By PTI

MUMBAI: Police have imposed prohibitory orders outside the Enforcement Directorate's office here ahead of NCP chief Sharad Pawar's planned visit to the agency office on Friday, while the opposition party claimed police have started detaining its workers.

A large number of police personnel have been deployed and roads leading to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office at Ballard Pier of South Mumbai have been closed in view of Pawar's visit, police said on Friday morning.

The former Union minister, named in a money-laundering case by the ED in connection with a scam at Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank, has said he will visit the ED office at Ballard Pier in South Mumbai even though it has not summoned him yet.

"Honourable @PawarSpeaks Saheb will visit ED office at 2 pm. Workers will be present in big number in his support."

"But the police started detaining workers since yesterday night. We are people who believe in law and order."

"This suppression is not right. Condemnation!" NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik tweeted.

NCP workers had staged protests in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra when the ED named Pawar in the case earlier this week.

ALSO READ | Political opportunism, says Rahul on ED action against Sharad Pawar

Anticipating similar protests on Friday, orders prohibiting movement of groups of people under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure have been imposed outside the ED office, a police official said on Thursday night.

A late Thursday night communication from the police said prohibitory orders have also been imposed under the jurisdictions of Colaba, Cuffe Parade, Marine Drive, Dongri, Azad Maidan, J J Marg and MRA Marg police stations in South Mumbai.

ALSO READ | Sharad Pawar asks NCP workers not to gather near ED office on Friday

Pawar has appealed to party workers not to gather outside the ED office.

Some key routes in the area like S S Ram Ghulam Road, Karimbhoy Road and J N Hardiya Road have been closed for traffic, an official said.

However, vehicles of VIPs and emergency services will be allowed on these roads, he said, adding parking has been prohibited in the area for the day.

All precautionary measures have been taken to maintain law and order and avoid any untoward incident, the official said.

The NCPs state office is situated near the ED premises and there is a possibility that a large number of party supporters may gather in the area, he said.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra NCP chief Jayant Patil and party general secretary Jitendra Awhad reached Pawar's residence here ahead of the veteran leader's visit to the ED office later in the day.

The NCP patriarch has already said he would "voluntarily" visit the ED office and co-operate with the probe agency given his faith in the Constitution.

The ED has filed the money-laundering case against Pawar, his nephew Ajit Pawar, a former deputy chief minister, and others in connection with the scam.

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The veteran leader has been maintaining he was not associated with the bank in any capacity and questioned the timing of the registration of the case which comes just weeks ahead of the October 21 Assembly polls in Maharashtra.

An Enforcement Case Information Report, equivalent to a police FIR, has been registered by the central agency under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The case is based on a Mumbai Police FIR which had named former chairmen of the bank, Ajit Pawar, and 70 erstwhile functionaries of the cooperative lender.

The NCP has termed the ED case as politically motivated.

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