ED gets Sathe Corp case papers, Ajit Pawar's role under lens
Mumbai: Maharashtra government has handed over documents pertaining to the alleged multi-crore scam in state-run Annabhau Sathe Development Corporation to Enforcement Directorate and questioned the role of NCP leader Ajit Pawar in this connection.
Minister of State for Social Justice Dilip Kamble said documents were handed over to the ED, which is examining the case, last Tuesday and that the government was "doubtful" over Pawar's decision to allocate Rs 300 crore to the Sathe Corporation three months before Assembly polls last year.
However, former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said there have been no discrepancies and that the "truth will be out for all to see" once the investigation is completed.
NCP leader Ramesh Kadam, former chairman of the Corporation, along with three other accused including his then personnel assistant, his sister and one of his office staff are in judicial custody in connection with the alleged scam.
The state government has handed over the probe in the scam to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
Kamble claimed that the scam runs into about Rs 1,000 crore, out of which Rs 500 crore belongs to Sathe Mahamandal (Corporation) and the remaining has been received as grants from the Centre.
"We have handed over the documents to ED as we have to find out the cash flow, transactions with various accounts, purchase of 40 luxury cars and the distribution of cash in Assembly constituencies where NCP had contested the polls last year," the minister said.
"Kadam had used the funds to live a lavish life, distributed luxury cars to presidents of various organisations working for Matang community so that nobody would raise their voice against him," he alleged.
Kadam "withdrew Rs 22 crore cash from a nationalised bank on a single day and the CID has got the evidence of the transaction," Kamble claimed, adding that the agency was probing it. The minister also claimed that Kadam had purchased land worth Rs 125 crore at Pedder Road in Mumbai and the payment mode was cash.
He had purchased a number of lands in Mumbai, Pune and Solapur district. The CID and ED will jointly work on this. We also have a doubt that he may have purchased land outside the state as well," he said.
Kamble said there is a possibility of money laundering in foreign countries by Kadam and if the state gets clues, it may ask the CBI to investigate it.
Pawar, the then deputy CM and finance minister during the Congress-NCP government, had approved Rs 300 crore grant to Annanbhau Sathe Corporation in June-July 2014. Also in July 2014, the state had decided to allow a guarantee of Rs 60 crore to loans that would be distributed by the Corporation.
"Why only Sathe Corporation was allocated Rs 300 crore and nothing to other other backward corporations? Was Ajit Pawar aware about misuse of corporation funds?" Kamble asked.
Though the government has no evidence against Pawar, but if his involvement is found then strong action will be taken against him, he said.
However, Pawar has claimed that he did not take the decision of allocating funds to the corporation on his own and that it was the state Sabinet's decision, which is on record.
"The truth will be out once the inquiry is done. We had given money to all the backward corporations. It is all on record. Ajit Pawar did not take decision. It was the state Cabinet which did," Pawar told PTI.
"Once money has been allocated, it is up to the Corporation to spend the funds. Once an inquiry is done, the truth will be for all to see," he added.