Mumbai Police has imposed Section 144 in Ballard Estate area of the city to prevent any untoward situation in view of the NCP chief's visit to the ED office
Sharad Pawar at ED office: The Nationalist Congress Party of Sharad Pawar is set to turn the money-laundering case against its top leader into a major issue in the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly election. Pawar has said that he will appear before the ED at its Mumbai office in connection with the case despite any summons being issued to him by the probe agency. Mumbai Police has imposed Section 144 in Ballard Estate area of the city to prevent any untoward situation in view of the NCP chief’s visit to the ED office on Friday.
Meanwhile, NCP leader Nawab Malik has claimed that the police is detaining NCP workers in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra. “This is not right. Sharad Pawar will definitely go to ED office at 2 pm today. BJP government is misusing Enforcement Directorate,” Malik told news agency ANI.
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Several NCP workers were detained on Wednesday as they held a protest outside the ED office against naming of Sharad Pawar, Ajit Pawar and others in Rs 25,000 crore scam in Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB).
Sharad Pawar had earlier said that he was not surprised by the action. Though the former Maharashtra CM has not been summoned by the ED, Pawar said he would visit the ED office to provide all details he has concerning the case.
Pawar had referred the ED action as a result of enormous public support that he has been receiving during his state-wide tour for the upcoming Assembly elections. “We don’t know bowing before takht (throne) in Delhi. I will myself go to Enforcement Directorate on 27 September to give all information what I have with me about this case. (I am) ready for any hospitality from ED,” Sharad Pawar had said.
The action against Pawar is likely to be used by the NCP to rally support for its leader in the upcoming elections in the state. The NCP will be hoping that a development such as this could be used to energise the cadre whose morale has been hit by the party’s lackluster performance in the Lok Sabha elections and the wave of defections of its top leaders soon after.