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HomeIndustry & Updates41 Maharashtra sugar mills sold at 'throwaway prices', alleges advocate

41 Maharashtra sugar mills sold at ‘throwaway prices’, alleges advocate

At a time when the ED is investigating the Jarandeshwar Sugar Mill case, advocate Yogesh Pandey has alleged that 41 other cooperative sugar mills in the state were also sold at meagre prices.

As the Enforcement Department (ED) continues to investigate the Jarandeshwar Sugar Mill case in Maharashtra’s Satara district, it is now alleged that 41 other cooperative sugar mills in the state were also sold at meagre prices.

The said mills were allegedly sold by the Maharashtra government and Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank between 2008-2014 for a value of Rs 5 crore to Rs 65 crore each.

Later, a PIL was filed in the Mumbai High Court by then MP Raju Shetty of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana Party on October 19, 2016, in connection with the sugar mills case.

Advocate Yogesh Pandey, who represented Raju Shetty, claimed these sugar mills were sold without following due transparent procedure.

Advocate Pandey further claimed that the actual cost for setting up one sugar mill is around Rs 200 to Rs 300 crore.

“Single bidder tenders were allotted, buyers were among the directors or close associates or relatives of Directors Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSC) or close associates of politicians in power,” Advocate Pandey told India Today TV.

Advocate Pandey further alleged that 41 cooperative sugar factories were labeled as defaulters, having failed to repay their loan installments. They were then auctioned for the recovery of the debt. These sugar factories had huge land with them.

The market value of the land could have paid off the debt but shockingly, the land cost was finalised as per the first balance sheet of the said cooperative sugar mills. So the cost of land was just a few lakhs of rupees or a couple of crores of rupees, he said.

When Ajit Pawar was asked how the cost of the land was considered so less as compared to the market value, he claimed the auction procedure was carried out by the Maharashtra State Cooperative (MSC) Bank, which also finalised the rates of the land.

Responding to this claim, Advocate Pandey said Ajit Pawar was the Director of MSC bank so he had thorough knowledge and hold on the banking procedure.

Shalini Tai Patil, the former chairman of Jarandeshwar Sugar Mill, said the cost of the land of the mill during auctioning was much higher than the debt which was to be paid.

Giving examples of other sugar factories that were auctioned in a similar manner, Advocate Pandey said the Kannad Sugar mill, which has 305 acres of land in Kannad Town near Aurangabad, was sold off for Rs 50 crore. The value of the land was considered just Rs 16.38 lakh in the year 2012-13, he claimed.

Advocate Pandey also alleged that the ED investigation was nothing but an eyewash. “The BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] is playing a pressure tactic game against the NCP [Nationalist Congress Party] to be in power in Maharashtra state,” he claimed.

Advocate Pandey claimed that he had documentary evidence to prove that just before the Maharashtra Assembly elections in 2019, then Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had paid off around Rs 1,000 crore to the MSC bank as the state government had given a guarantee on the loans the bank had availed to these defaulting sugar mills.

India Today TV has sought Fadnavis’s version of the incident. He is yet to respond to this channel.

Ajit Pawar denies charges

Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Ajit Pawar, who is linked to a firm that holds the majority of the shares of Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills, refuted the charges against him and the government.

Ajit Pawar said there were around 15 bidders for Jarandeshwar sugar mill suction and the one who made the highest bid won. He also mentioned that Jarandeshwar Sugar Mill was purchased at a relatively higher price as compared to other defaulting cooperative sugar mills.

Ajit Pawar said there were other cooperative factories that were sold for as less as Rs 4 crore. He claimed that leaders of other political parties like the BJP and the Congress have also purchased cooperative sugar factories in such auctions.

As compared to other cooperative factories in auction, the Jarandeshwar sugar factory got a very nice price, said Ajit Pawar.

During a press conference, Ajit Pawar said earlier as well, there have been investigations and inquiries in connection with the sale and purchase of sugar factories. The investigations were carried out by the Economic Offence Wing, the CID, the Income Tax Department and committees which were headed by retired judges of high courts.

During those investigations, no irregularities or wrong practices were reported. This time round the Enforcement Directorate has the right to carry out investigations. All of the concerned are cooperating, Ajit Pawar said.

(The above news was originally posted from India News and title and content is not edited or created by Sugar Times and is a result of syndicated feed.)

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