The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday has attached assets worth Rs 65.75 crore in connection with the Rs 25,000 crore Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) scam.
The assets seized under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act include a company linked to Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar. The other assets include land, building, machinery and facilities.
The ED has provisionally attached the land, machinery, and buildings worth Rs 65.75 crore of Jarandeshwar Sahkari Sugar Karkhana (Jarandeshwar SSK). The ED said funds that were used to purchase Jarandeshwar SSK had come through another sugar mill.
This was in turn funded by Sparkling Soil Private Ltd. The majority shareholder in the sugar mill is Sparkling Soil Pvt Ltd which is linked to Ajit Pawar and his wife Sunetra Pawar.
While investigating, the ED found the bank had sold Jarandeshwar SSK in 2010 in an auction at a far lower price than the fair value to the director and private people violating all the rules of the SARFAESI Act. The NCP leader was on the board of the bank when the mill was auctioned.
The ED said Jarandeshwar SSK was used as a vehicle by Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills to get a loan of Rs 700 crore from the Pune District Central Cooperative Bank and others from 2010 till now.
Three years ago, the ED had filed a case naming Ajit Pawar and 75 others in the alleged scam after the Bombay High Court had ordered the police to file a case against them. Last year, the Mumbai police had filed a closure case but the ED had objected to it.
The bank, largely controlled by NCP leaders, had allegedly violated banking laws and RBI guidelines when loans were given to financially weak sugar factories and spinning mills.
The said loans that were sanctioned by officers had links to the owners of the sugar mills. The development comes at a time when all sorts of rumours are doing the rounds in the state regarding the Aghadi government.