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“NCP Leader’s Questioning by ED Linked to Refusal to Meet Ruling Dispensation Expectations, says Sharad Pawar”

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar hinted on May 2 that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) questioning senior NCP leader Jayant Patil could be a result of the party’s refusal to meet the expectations of the ruling dispensation. He spoke to reporters in Pune about the actions taken by ED and other central probe agencies against some NCP leaders. He said that they will suffer but will never deviate from the path they have chosen.

Pawar said that some leaders may have faced ED summoning as a result of their refusal to meet the expectations of the current dispensation, which is believed to be the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government. Patil’s questioning has been underway at the ED office in south Mumbai for over eight hours. It is in connection with a money laundering case linked to alleged financial irregularities in the now-bankrupt financial services firm IL&FS.

Pawar further added that there is a list of ten key NCP leaders who have faced inquiries and some even faced action by these agencies.

NCP’s former home minister Anil Deshmukh had faced allegations of accepting INR 100 crore for an educational institute and had to spend 13-14 months in jail. Later it was revealed that the amount received was only INR 1.50 crore and not INR 100 crore. Pawar claimed that this illustrates the level of exaggeration of allegations and is the best example of how to misuse power.

He also commented on the Maharashtra government’s decision to favor the former Mumbai police commissioner, Param Bir Singh (now retired), by revoking his suspension. Pawar said that if the state government goes deeper into the complaints and cases filed against Singh, it will be akin to the opening of Pandora’s box and the public should know how many cases are pending against him.

Furthermore, jailed NCP leader Nawab Malik, who stands vindicated, had been harassed for speaking the truth. This was in reply to a question about former NCB zonal director Sameer Wankhede facing the CBI probe in the Cordelia cruise ‘drug bust’ case.

Regarding the allegations against Deshmukh, the Bombay High Court granted him bail in December 2022 in a corruption case probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) after IPS officer Param Bir Singh, who is now retired, in March 2021 alleged that Deshmukh, then home minister, gave a target to police officers to collect INR 100 crore per month from restaurants and bars in Mumbai. The ED arrested Deshmukh in November 2021 in the money laundering case, and he is currently out on bail.

Former Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik was arrested on February 23, 2022, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) by the ED in a probe linked to the activities of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his aides.

Sharad Pawar’s comments came as a surprise to the public and political groups given his previous progressive record of advocating for the people’s welfare. The ED is supposed to work independently, irrespective of the party that is in power. However, Sharad Pawar’s statement seems to have opened a debate on the impartiality of India’s investigative agencies. Political analysts are watching keenly for any developments and whether the government will respond to these allegations.

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