The Enforcement Directorate (ED) this week filed two supplementary chargesheets in connection with the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) scam, naming 11 more people, including NCP Sharad Pawar-led faction’s MLA Prajakt Tanpure, as accused.
The others accused in the chargesheet include former NCP MLA Prasad Tanpure, Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena former MLA Arjun Khotkar, former Congress minister Ranjeet Deshmukh, Subhash Deshmukh, industrialist Sameer Mulay, construction businessman Jugal Tapadia, as well as companies Prasad Sugar and Allied Agro Products Limited, Takshashila Securities Private Limited, Arjun Sugar Industries and Tapadia Construction.
Previously, searches were conducted at the premises belonging to several named as accused by the ED.
The case relates MSCB officials allegedly giving loans to sugar factories, without following the procedure, even after they turned into non-performing assets and their subsequent sale to kin of the accused below the market value. A probe in the case was initiated after a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed before the Bombay High Court into the alleged irregularities at the bank. The Economic Offences Wing registered an FIR, and the ED filed a case of alleged money laundering in 2019.
In the current chargesheet, the ED has claimed that Tanpure was in the board of directors and a member of the executive committee of the MSCB between 2004 and 2010. It claims that there was a conflict of interest as his son NCP MLA Prajakt Tanpure was bidding on behalf of Prasad Sugar and Allied Agro Products Private Limited to buy Ram Ganesh Gadkari SSK (Sugar Sahakari Karkhana).
According to the ED, the sugar factory was sold to the company for a minimal price as Prajakt — through his father — had “influenced the MSCB officials”. It also claimed similar irregularities in the sale of other sugar factories. The ED claims that the accused were involved in laundering proceeds of crime.
In April, the ED had filed its first chargesheet against three — Guru Commodity Services Private Limited, Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Private Limited, and chartered accountant Yogesh Bagrecha — in the case. The ED had alleged links of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and his wife to the two companies, but they were not named then.
The ED then said that its investigation was underway and it should be permitted to file any further supplementary chargesheets, if during the course of its probe, any new facts or evidence emerge in respect of other persons or those already named.