Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday refuted the allegations levelled against him in connection with Jarandeshwar Sahkari Sugar Karkhana, and said the ED is investigating the matter and the ”facts” will come out. Pawar said the auction of Jarandeshwar Sugar Mill was carried out by adhering to all the rules and regulations.
The deputy chief minister gave a list of 65 sugar mills that were either sold through auctions, or given on contract to run, and claimed that some cooperative mills were sold in the range of Rs 3 crore to Rs 10 crore, but nobody was talking about them. ”A central agency is probing the case and the facts will come out. All other agencies of state such as the Anti-Corruption Bureau, CID and inquiry committee chaired by a judge had already probed the allegations in the past,” Pawar said.
The auction of Jarandeshwar, which was sold to Guru Commodity Services Pvt Ltd for Rs 65.75 crore, was done following the Bombay High Court’s orders, he said. ”As the sugar factory failed to repay the outstanding, the court gave a year’s time and asked to put it up for sale if they could not clear the outstanding amounts in that period,” he said.
After the sugar factory failed to pay the outstanding, the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) floated a tender to which several companies responded, and as Guru Commodity Services’ bid of Rs 65.75 crore was the highest, the bank sold the mill to the company, Pawar said. The deputy chief minister claimed that there are attempts to mislead people by levelling allegations against specific sugar mills. In July this year, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached over Rs 65 crore worth of land, building, plant and machinery of Jarandeshwar SSK’s sugar mill at Chimangaon-Koregaon in Satara under the anti-money laundering law.
The ED had claimed that the cooperative-run sugar mill was linked to Pawar and his family. Pawar said he gave a list of 65 sugar mills that were either sold or given on contract to run but no one is talking about others.”As far as a sugar mill in Parner is concerned, there was media coverage only for two days, and later, everybody neglected the matter and the allegations,” the deputy chief minister said.
”We only expect that the agencies are free to perform as per their way, but they must give everyone the same justice (treatment),” he said, referring to the Jarandeshwar sugar mill case.Pawar further said that the MSCB has floated a tender to give 10 more cooperative sugar mills to be run on contract basis and those who want to operate can apply.
Asked about BJP leader Chandrakant Patil’s allegations that prices of fuel are soaring in the state because of Pawar’s stand of not endorsing fuel to come under GST, the minister said he was not responsible for the rising fuel prices in the state. ”If the Centre reduces taxes on fuel, the state government will definitely think about it,” he said.