NCP(SP) flexes muscles as MLA Rohit R. Pawar goes for date with ED
Mumbai, Jan 24 (IANS) The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP-SP) put up a huge show of strength as its prominent MLA Rohit R. Pawar honoured the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summons for a probe into an alleged money-laundering case here on Wednesday.
Rohit R. Pawar touched the feet of his granduncle and NCP (SP) supremo Sharad Pawar, Working President and MP Supriya Sule, and shook hands with other senior leaders just before stepping into the ED office in south Mumbai.
A huge number of party activists from his constituency Karjat-Jamkhed (Ahmednagar), Pune and Mumbai gathered near the ED office where tight security was deployed to prevent any untoward incidents.
Supriya Sule joined the workers in clapping, cheering and boosting Rohit R. Pawar’s morale as he entered the ED office — with no certainty of his fate — as was experienced by many in the recent past.
“This is a struggle for ‘satya’ and ultimately truth will triumph,” said Sule.
Senior NCP (SP) leader Anil Deshmukh flayed the ED and the government for deliberately hounding all Opposition parties and their leaders.
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aditya Thackeray said that there is no rule of law in the country and those who speak against the government are trapped in false cases, typical of an authoritarian regime.
“Are we in India or some place like Pakistan… We appeal to the judicial system to uphold the rule of the law,” urged Thackeray Jr.
MP Sanjay Raut slammed the central probe agency saying “ED has become a branch of the Bharatiya Janata Party” which is targeting the Opposition leaders in Maharashtra and other Opposition-ruled states in the country.
Sule referred to a report stating that around 95 per cent of all the ‘I.C.E.’ cases (IT-CBI-ED) are filed against the Opposition in the country and said this portends danger to democracy.
Prior to keeping his date with ED, Rohit R. Pawar appeared unruffled and calm, bid goodbyes to his family members at a five-star hotel in Nariman Point, paid respects at the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, a plaque on the Constitution and bowed before the Maharashtra Legislature.
Later he reached the NCP office, which is just across the road from the ED, advised his excited and aggressive supporters to maintain cool, and promised to cooperate fully with the ED probe.
Supriya Sule gave him a file folder that had pictures of all great leaders and reformers of Maharashtra, and also presented him a book on the late S.B. Chavan, as he left for the ED office.
The CEO of Baramati Agro Ltd., Rohit R. Pawar faces a Mumbai Police FIR of August 2019 on purported money-laundering charges arising from the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) scam, and the ED’s allegations of illegal ‘diversion of funds’ to a company that bid to buy an ailing sugar cooperative factory.
However, he has consistently denied all the charges and claimed there was no wrongdoings in the matters alleged by the police and ED, which had raided the company recently.
The Opposition Maha Vikas Allies (MVA) Congress and Shiv Sena (UBT) leaders have termed the ongoing action as ‘political vendetta and witch-hunt’ of the rivals by the government through misuse of central investigation agencies by the BJP.
The NCP (SP) has also alleged that Rohit R. Pawar is being targeted as he did not succumb to political pressures to support his uncle, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar’s breakaway NCP faction after the split in July 2023.
However, the NCP (AP) state President Sunil Tatkare and others have rubbished the charges saying the agency may have found something incriminating in its probe, but he (Rohit R. Pawar) had nothing to fear if he has not committed any wrongs.