Ajit Pawar denies links with firm under ED lens

·3-min read

Pune, Jul 2 (PTI) Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday said he did not have any connection with Guru Commodity Services Pvt Ltd which is under the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) scanner, though a sugar mill owned by the company is being run by one of his relatives.

The central agency, which has attached Jarandeshwar Sahkari Sugar Karkhana in Satara district in connection with the alleged Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) scam, claimed on Thursday that a company linked to Pawar and his wife was involved in the case.

Speaking to reporters here, the senior NCP leader said he had no idea why Guru Commodity Services -- which owns the sugar factory -- was facing probe.

'This sugar factory was among 14 mills which were sold after they failed to repay loans to MSC Bank. The Bombay High Court had asked the bank to give them one year and put them up for sale if they could not clear the outstanding amounts in that period,' said Pawar.

The MSCB then floated a tender to which 15 companies responded and as Guru Commodity Services' bid of Rs 65.75 crore was the highest one, the bank sold the mill to the company, he said. As per his information, no sick sugar mill had fetched so much price, he added.

Later, BVG group's Hanmant Gaikwad and one of his directors floated Jarandeshwar Sugar Mill Pvt Ltd and leased the mill from Guru Commodity Services, but they backtracked after suffering losses, Pawar said.

'One of my relatives, Rajendra Ghadge, then took the company on lease and started running it, but he also suffered losses for some years,' he added.

He himself was not at all associated with Guru Commodity Services, the deputy CM said.

The new management of the mill decided to expand the business to avoid further losses and approached banks for loans of Rs 300 to 400 crore, he said.

'Obtaining all necessary permissions and following all procedures, the management expanded the business by obtaining a loan and started a distillery of one lakh liter capacity, increased the per day capacity of sugar production to 10,000 metric tonnes and this is why the mill is currently in good condition,' he said.

The sugar mill is repaying the loans on time, Pawar added.

'I have not got into the details of why Guru Commodities is being probed by the ED because I do not have any relation with Guru Commodities,' said Pawar.

There were several probes in the past by agencies such as the state CID, Anti-Corruption Bureau and Economic Offences Wing, but nothing came of them, he said.

'Currently, everyone knows what kind of politics is going on in the country and there is no way to find out the reason behind it. But there are places where justice can be sought and the mill management will try and go there,' he said.

Earlier in the day, the NCP, which is a constituent of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra, alleged that there was a conspiracy to malign the image of the party and its leaders. PTI SPK KRK KRK

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