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MUMBAI: The Economic Offences Wing has given a clean chit to deputy CM Ajit Pawar’s wife Sunetra in the Rs 25,000 crore Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank scam case. There was no illegality involved in Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Pvt Ltd taking on rent Jarandeshwar Co-Op Sugar Mill from Guru Commodity, EOW said in its closure report. However, ED, in its chargesheet, said Guru Commodity and Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills entered into a “paper transaction” to project the lease as genuine.

The EOW that probed the case had filed a closure report in 2020 but subsequently moved the court to reopen it to probe Ajit Pawar and his nephew Rohit Pawar, who were part of the MVA. The EOW then filed a second report in January this year seeking closure of the case, saying there is no evidence to proceed against anyone in the case including Ajit Pawar, who is now with the Mahayuti. The report was made available now.

The EOW also gave a clean chit to companies associated with MLA Rohit Pawar of NCP (SP), saying his Baramati Agro was financially sound when it purchased the Kannad Sugar Mill and there was ‘no diversion of funds.’ It gave a clean chit to his party colleague-former minister Prajakt Tanpure too.

The MSCB has 31 district central co-operative banks under its umbrella, mostly named after districts and headed by politicians. Between 2002 and 2017, MSCB granted loans to cooperative sugar factories and later auctioned the units, along with their lands, at throwaway prices, mostly to relatives of those leading the bank in the guise of recovering the defaulted loans.

The EOW closure report in the MSCB case said 13 tenders were received for the auction of Jarandeshwar Co-Op Sugar Mill and in 2010, it was sold to Andheri-based Guru Commodities Services, a company of Omkar Builder, for Rs 65.8 crore. Guru Commodities immediately leased the mill on a long-term basis to the newly-formed company, Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Pvt Ltd. Just two weeks after its formation, Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Pvt Ltd, a company in which Ajit Pawar’s relative Rajendra Ghadge is a director, received Rs 20.3 crore from Jay Agrotech on November 19, 2010. The EOW stated in the closure report that Sunetra Pawar was a director of Jay Agrotech but resigned from the post in 2008, two years before Jay Agrotech gave money to Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Pvt Ltd. EOW said there was no wrongdoing committed in the transactions and no loss was caused to MSCB.The EOW opened its first closure report for further investigation after protest petitions were filed in court opposing its first report. The ED had filed an application opposing the second closure report too, after stating that it would affect its connected money laundering cases as it had already filed chargesheets in cases of mills linked to Ajit Pawar and Tanpure. The report also said recourse had been taken to recover the money and so far, Rs 1,343.4 crore had been received.

In the second closure report, EOW mostly relied on the finding of retired chief district judge Panditrao Bapurao Jadhav, who had said in his report no loss was caused to the MSCB bank and all procedures were followed while sanctioning loans to co-op sugar mills and their auctioning. The EOW also relied on the statement of individuals who had been named as accused in the ED chargesheet.

  • Published On Apr 24, 2024 at 08:30 AM IST

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