Mumbai | Jagran News Desk: Congress and Shiv Sena on Friday backed National Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and criticised the government by calling them ‘vindictive government’.

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

BJP’s ally Shiva Sena also backed the NCP chief. “People do not believe on the charges leveled against him. They have faith in Pawar. There is no proof against him,” said Sena leader Sanjay Raut.

Also Read | PM Modi, Imran Khan to face each other at 74th session of UN General Assembly today

Pawar, who is named in a money-laundering case by the ED in connection with a scam at Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank, has not been summoned by the probe agency but he had said that he will visit the ED office before he gets busy with the state election which is less than a month away.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai police has imposed Section-144 near Ballard Estate in south Mumbai, where the Enforcement Directorate's office is located. 

The step comes as a precautionary measure because the NCP workers had staged protests in Mumbai earlier when the ED named Sharad Pawar in the money laundering case.

Meanwhile, the probe agency is in the process of gathering additional evidence and statements since the case was registered in connection with the alleged scam at the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB).

The ED case is based on a Mumbai Police FIR that had named the then directors of the bank, former deputy chief minister of the state Ajit Pawar and 70 former functionaries of the cooperative bank.

The Mumbai Police FIR that was filed in this case in August came about on the basis of a similar complaint registered by the state economic offences wing (EOW).

Also Read | ‘Terror elimination a pre-condition’: Jaishankar after Pakistan boycotts his SAARC speech

The EOW was asked by the Bombay High Court to file a case after a bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and S K Shinde said there was "credible evidence" against the accused in the case.

As per the police FIR, the state exchequer allegedly suffered losses to the tune of Rs 25,000 crore due to the MSCB scam between January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2017.

The offence has been registered against the then chief ministers, deputy chief ministers, ministers, politicians, government officials, the then directors and senior officials of MSCB, district central bank, and directors of Pen Cooperative Bank, according to the FIR.

(With PTI inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma