ED files FIR against Sharad Pawar, nephew Ajit Pawar in Rs25,000-cr co-op bank scam

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday registered a case of money laundering against Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, his nephew and former deputy chief minister of Maharashtra Ajit Pawar, and others in a criminal case in connection with the Rs25,000-crore Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) scam.

The case comes less than a month ahead of assembly polls in Maharashtra where Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party is contesting assembly polls in alliance with the Congress party.
Sharad Pawar's name surfaced in a money laundering case being investigated by the ED, less than a month ahead of the assembly election in Maharashtra, although he was not an accused in the case. However, he was named in the complaint which was included in the FIR filed by the police in the Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank scam, in which his nephew Ajit Pawar has been named in the agency's note on the case.
"I am not even a member of that organisation, yet my name is there in the FIR," Sharad Pawar said reacting to the development. 
"This type of FIRs during elections will surely impact the results. I have full faith in the judiciary, this is not a new case. We welcome this move by the government," he added.
The 25,000-crore bank scam involved the sanction of illegal bank loans. The Bombay High Court had, last month, asked the Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai Police to file a First Information Report against Ajit Pawar and 75 others in the alleged scam.
Prominent among the other accused in ED case are Diliprao Deshmukh, Isharlal Jain, Jayant Patil, Shivaji Rao, Anand Rao Adsul, Rajendra Shingane and Madan Patil.
Other accused include Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) leader Jayant Patil and officials from the superseded bank's units in 34 districts in the state, according to ED officials.
The accused were allegedly complicit in causing losses to the tune of Rs1,000 crore to MSCB between 2007 and 2011.
The petitioner, Surinder Arora, had sought an investigation into the cooperative bank, which was controlled largely by the Nationalist Congress Party leaders. The police lodged a case in this connection last month against Ajit Pawar, another NCP leader and senior bank officials after a NABARD audit report revealed a breach of banking laws and RBI guidelines in the distribution of loans to sugar factories and spinning mills, and the subsequent default on repayment and recovery of these loans.