ED books Sharad Pawar, Ajit Pawar in PMLA case

The Enforcement Directorate has filed a money laundering case against NCP chief Sharad Pawar, his nephew Ajit Pawar and others in connection with the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) scam case, officials said on Tuesday.

They said an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), equivalent to a police FIR, has been registered by the central agency under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The case is based on a Mumbai Police FIR which had named former chairmen of the bank, ex-deputy chief minister of Maharashtra Ajit Pawar and 70 former functionaries of the cooperative bank. The registration of the case comes at a time when assembly polls are due in the state next month.

Hours after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed a case against him and others, Sharad Pawar said he would have been “surprised” had there not been such an action against him given the “huge” response he received during his poll campaign in Maharashtra.

In a sarcastic comment, Pawar also “thanked” the central agency for naming him in the case relating to the bank of which he “is not a member and was not involved in its decision-making” in any way. The Maharashtra unit of the ruling BJP, however, justified ED action, saying it took the steps as per rules and procedure.

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