Sharad Pawar, death threat
NCP supremo Sharad Pawar allegedly received a message on social media that read he will meet the same fate as (Narendra) Dabholkar soon I File Photo: PTI

ED responds to Sharad Pawar, says will call when required

Shiv Sena and Congress have backed the NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who has been booked by the Enforcement Directorate in the alleged ₹25,000-crore Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank fraud case.

The ED has sent an email communication informing NCP chief Sharad Pawar that he is not required to depose in a money laundering case probe on Friday (September 27) and he will be called when required, official sources said.

Following the communication, Sharad Pawar has announced that he won’t be visiting the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office due to law and order concern.

The leader stopped short of the agency’s office and requested the protesting party workers to maintain peace and leave.

Sharad Pawar had earlier volunteered to go to ED office at Ballard Pier in South Mumbai even without being summoned by them after his name cropped up in the money-laundering case by the ED in connection with a scam at Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank

Shiv Sena and Congress had earlier backed Sharad Pawar.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday slammed the government for being vindictive and “targetting” Sharad Pawar.

“Sharad Pawar Ji is the latest Opposition leader to be targetted by a vindictive Government. The timing of this action, a month before elections in Maharashtra, reeks of political opportunism,” Rahul Gandhi wrote on Twitter.

Mumbai police had imposed prohibitory orders outside ED office ahead of Pawar’s planned visit to the agency office on Friday (September 27), while the opposition party claimed police have started detaining its workers.

Police personnel were deployed and roads leading to the office at Ballard Pier of South Mumbai had been closed in view of Pawar’s visit, police said on Friday morning. Drones too were deployed for security surveillance at Ballard Estate.

“Honourable @PawarSpeaks Saheb will visit ED office at 2 pm. Workers will be present in big number in his support.But the police started detaining workers since yesterday night. We are people who believe in law and order.

“This suppression is not right. Condemnation!” NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik tweeted.

NCP workers had staged protests in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra when the ED named Pawar in the case earlier this week.

Anticipating similar protests on Friday, orders prohibiting movement of groups of people under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was imposed outside the ED office, a police official said on Thursday night.

A late Thursday night communication from the police said prohibitory orders were also imposed under the jurisdictions of Colaba, Cuffe Parade, Marine Drive, Dongri, Azad Maidan, J J Marg and MRA Marg police stations in South Mumbai.

Some key routes in the area like S S Ram Ghulam Road, Karimbhoy Road and J N Hardiya Road have were also closed for traffic, an official said.

ALSO READ: ED may not allow Sharad Pawar to enter its Mumbai office on Friday

The veteran leader has been maintaining 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.

ALSO READ: Won’t bow down before Delhi, says Pawar on ED action

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.

The NCP has termed the ED case as politically motivated.

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