Social activist Anna Hazare has expressed surprise over Nationalist Congress Party or NCP chief Sharad Pawar's name cropping up in the multi-crore Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank scam.
Probe agency Enforcement Directorate or ED has filed a money laundering case against Sharad Pawar, his nephew Ajit Pawar - a former deputy chief minister of Maharashtra - and others in connection with the scam.
An Enforcement Case Information Report, 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, Ajit Pawar, and 70 erstwhile functionaries of the cooperative lender.
"When this case came to me, Sharad Pawar's name was not there anywhere. How did his name crop up, who mentioned his name, all these things only they know," Anna Hazare said on Thursday when asked about the ED case and Sharad Pawar's alleged links to the scam.
Anna Hazare, a Sharad Pawar critic, expressed the hope that the truth will come out after the ED carries out a detailed investigation in the scam. "The ED will come to know how his name figured in the case," said Anna Hazare, a veteran of many anti-corruption agitations.
Sharad Pawar has denied any wrongdoing and claimed he was not associated with the bank in any capacity and questioned the timing of the registration of the case which comes just weeks ahead of the October 21 Assembly polls in Maharashtra.
The former Union minister has asserted he would not bow before the "throne" of Delhi, apparently referring to the BJP-led government at the Centre.
The NCP has termed the Enforcement Directorate case as politically motivated.