ED attaches Rs 65.75 crore assets of sugar mill in MSCB scam, links Ajit Pawar to money laundering case

The ED initiated investigations under the PMLA based upon an FIR of August 26 in 2019 registered by the Economic Offence Wing of Mumbai Police under sections IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act.
Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar (Photo | PTI)
Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar (Photo | PTI)

MUMBAI: The Enforcement Directorate has attached a sugar mill worth about Rs 66 crore under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in connection with the alleged Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank (MSCB) scam. A company linked to Maharashtra’s Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and his wife is involved in the case, the ED said on Thursday.

The attached properties include land, building, plant and machinery of Jarandeshwar Sahkari Sugar Karkhana located at Chimangaon-Koregaon in Satara district. They are currently held in the name of Guru Commodity Services, an alleged dummy company, and were leased to Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills. The total value of the assets is  Rs 65.75 crore which was the purchase price in 2010.

Sparkling Soil Pvt Ltd is holding the majority shares of Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills. Investigation has revealed that Sparkling Soil is a company related to Ajit Pawar and Sunetra Ajit Pawar, the ED said.
Sources in the Maha Vikas Aghadi alleged that the BJP-led central government was misusing central agencies to target NCP and Shiv Sena leaders. Pawar, meanwhile, said he did not get any notice from the ED and also denied knowledge about the attachment of the mill.

The ED had initiated its investigations under PMLA based on an FIR registered by the Mumbai Police in 2019. According to the agency, the MSCB conducted an auction of Jarandeshwar Sahkari Sugar Karkhana in 2010 at undervalued price and without following due procedure. “Ajit Pawar was one of the prominent and influential members of the Board of Directors of MSCB at the relevant time.

The Sahkari Sugar Karkhana was purchased by Guru Commodity Services Pvt. Ltd. and was immediately leased to Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Pvt. Ltd, which is presently operating the Karkhana,” the ED said.

Officials said a major part of the funds utilised towards the purchase of Sahkari Sugar Karkhana was received from Jarandeshwar mills which in turn received it from Sparkling Soil. Further, the Karkhana was used as a vehicle by Jarandeshwar mills for obtaining loan of Rs 700 crore from Pune District Central Cooperative Bank and others, the ED said.

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