The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday attached properties worth over Rs 65 crore of a sugar mill linked to Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.
The action was taken under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The ED said in a statement that it has attached the properties including land, building and structure and plant and machinery of Jarandeshwar Sahkari Sugar Karkhana at Chimangaon, Koregaon, Satara worth Rs 65,75,00,000 under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering in a case related to Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank (MSCB).
'The assets are currently held in the name of Guru Commodity Services Pvt Ltd and leased to Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Pvt Ltd Sparkling Soil Pvt Ltd is holding majority shares of Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Pvt Ltd. Investigations revealed that Sparkling Soil Pvt Ltd is related company to Ajit Pawar, Deputy Chief Minister of State of Maharashtra and Sunetra Ajit Pawar,' the statement said.
The ED initiated investigations under the PMLA based upon a first information report (FIR) of August 26 in 2019 registered by the Economic Offence Wing of Mumbai Police under sections Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act.
ED said investigations conducted under PMLA revealed that Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank conducted an auction of Jarandeshwar SSK in 2010 'at undervalued price and without following due procedure'.
'Ajit Pawar was one of the prominent and influential members of Board of Directors of MSCB at the relevant time. The SSK was purchased by Guru Commodity Services Pvt Ltd and was immediately leased to Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Pvt Ltd, which is presently operating the Jarandeshwar SSK.
'The major part of the funds utilised towards the purchase of the said SSK was received from Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Pvt Ltd which received the same from Sparkling Soil Pvt Ltd, a company related to Ajit Pawar and his wife,' the statement said.
"Investigations further revealed that though Guru Commodity Services Pvt Ltd (a dummy company) was used to acquire the said SSK, the sugar mill was actually controlled and run by Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Pvt Ltd.
'Further, the SSK has been used as a vehicle by Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills for obtaining loan to the tune of Rs 700 crore (approx.) from Pune District Central Co-operative Bank and Ors. during from 2010 till date,' it added.
The ED said that assets held 'in the name of Guru Commodity Services Pvt Ltd (leased to Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Pvt Ltd) in the form of land, building and structure, plant and machinery of Jarandeshwar SSK, being proceeds of crime, the same has been provisionally attached under PMLA'.