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Not yet summoned, but Pawar to go ahead with ED office visit


Press Trust of India Mumbai
NCP chief Sharad Pawar said on Thursday he will appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday in a bank scam case and asked party men not to gather near the central agency's office here and ensure people are not inconvenienced.
Pawar on Wednesday said he would appear before the financial probe agency in the case filed against him in connection with the Maharashtra State Cooperative (MSC) Bank scam.
However, the ED has till now not summoned Pawar or anyone else named in the case.
With the ED expected to not allow Pawar entry into its office on Friday, NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik said the party patriarch will still persist with his decision to visit the agency's premises in South Mumbai.
"As mentioned during my press conference yesterday, I will be visiting the Mumbai ED office at Ballard Estate tomorrow, Friday 27 September, at 14.00 hrs. @MumbaiPolice @NCPspeaks," Pawar tweeted.
"I appeal to all my NCP cadre and supporters not to gather near the ED office premises. Keeping our tradition to honour the constitution and respect for institutions, I request your co-operation to the police and other government agencies," he added.
The ED is expected to disallow entry to the NCP chief in its office to "submit information" related to the alleged Rs 25,000-crore scam in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB), officials said on Thursday.
ED officials, however, say deciding to question any person or accused in a case is the prerogative of the "investigating officer" and such a decision is taken when there are reasons to do so.
Pawar has not been summoned yet, they said, adding the Maratha strongman will be called for questioning and recording of statement "whenever it is required".
Asked about it, Malik said, "Pawar Saheb will go ahead with the decision to visit the office. We are not afraid. Instead of them (the ED) calling us, we will visit it."

The NCP patriarch has already said he would "voluntarily" visit the ED office and co-operate with the probe agency given his faith in the Constitution.
The former Union minister, however, has also asserted he would not bow before the 'throne' of Delhi, apparently referring to the BJP-led government at the Centre.
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.
The ED has filed a money laundering case against Pawar, his nephew Ajit Pawar, a former deputy chief minister, and others in connection with the scam.
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, an ex-deputy chief minister of the state, and 70 erstwhile functionaries of the cooperative lender.
The NCP has termed the ED case as politically motivated.
The registration of the case against Pawar had drawn angry reaction from NCP workers who staged protests in various parts of the state, including his home turf Baramati in Pune district.
Police had imposed restrictions on assembly of people in the area where the ED office is located last month when MNS chief Raj Thackeray had appeared before agency officials in a separate money laundering case.

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First Published: Sep 26 2019 | 8:40 PM IST

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