- The case comes less than a month ahead of assembly polls in Maharashtra
- Mr Pawar's party NCP is contesting the polls in alliance with Congress
- This type of FIRs during polls will surely impact results: Sharad Pawar
Veteran political leader Sharad Pawar's name surfaced in a money laundering case being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate, less than a month ahead of the assembly election in Maharashtra.
Though Mr Pawar was named in the complaint which was included in the FIR (First Information Report) filed by the police in the Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank scam, he was not an accused. But he and his nephew Ajit Pawar have been named in the agency's note on the case.
Reacting to the development Sharad Pawar said, "I am not even a member of that organisation, yet my name is there in the FIR."
"This type of FIRs during elections will surely impact the results. I have full faith in the judiciary, this is not a new case. We welcome this move by the government," Mr Pawar added, while alleging that the notice was issued because of the positive support he has been getting from the people during his pre-election tours.
The 25,000-crore bank scam had involved the sanction of illegal bank loans, the agency had said.
"We are not shocked by this. Before elections, this is what the present government has been doing across the country. We are together and we will be fighting against this," Parth Pawar, Ajit Pawar's son, told NDTV.
The agency's move comes after last month's Bombay High Court order in which the court had asked the Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai Police to file a First Information Report against Ajit Pawar and 75 others in the alleged scam.
The petitioner, Surinder Arora, had sought an investigation into the cooperative bank, which was controlled largely by the Nationalist Congress Party leaders. The police lodged a case in this connection last month.
Besides Ajit Pawar, those accused in the case include another NCP leader and senior bank officials. According to the complaint, a NABARD's audit report revealed a breach of banking laws and RBI guidelines in the distribution of loans to sugar factories and spinning mills, and the subsequent default on repayment and recovery of these loans.
Sharad Pawar's NCP is contesting the election in alliance with the Congress - each party will have 125 seats.
Last week, Sharad Pawar had taken a swipe at Union Minister Amit Shah, after the BJP chief targeted him at a rally in Solapur, questioning what his contribution was for Maharashtra.
"One leader from their party (BJP) questioned what Sharad Pawar has done," the NCP chief said at a rally held in the same area.
"I would like to say one thing, Sharad Pawar has never been to jail for whatever good or bad things he did. Those who were in jail for months are asking what I have done," Mr Pawar added.
The reference was to a case against Mr Shah, in which he was discharged - the court said there was no evidence against him.