ED quizzes NCP leader Jayant Patil; Fadnavis says agencies are doing their work

Sharad Pawar says his party leaders are ready to pay the price for their stand

Updated - May 23, 2023 01:48 am IST

Published - May 22, 2023 12:39 pm IST - Mumbai

NCP Maharashtra president Jayant Patil waves at supporters outside NCP office before going to ED office in South Mumbai on May 22.

NCP Maharashtra president Jayant Patil waves at supporters outside NCP office before going to ED office in South Mumbai on May 22. | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Maharashtra unit chief and former Minister Jayant Patil appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Mumbai on Monday for questioning in connection with a money laundering case related to now-bankrupt financial services firm Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Limited.

Around 11.40 a.m., Mr. Patil walked to the agency’s office located close to the NCP office at Ballard Estate, while hundreds of party workers raised slogans in support of him and alleged that the NDA government and the Central agency were indulging in political vendetta.

“I am part of the Opposition and one needs to face such types of suffering. I never heard the name of the IL&FS in the past, but the ED officials have summoned me to appear before them. I will try to address their queries in the legal framework,” he said before entering the ED office.

Mr. Patil, a seven-term MLA and a close confidant of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, asked the party workers to maintain peace and allow the officials to do their work.

Pawar’s response

The questioning of the NCP leader evoked strong reactions from Mr. Pawar “A possibility cannot be denied that the current dispensation has had some expectations from some 9-10 leaders of the NCP. We are not ready to meet those expectations and are ready to pay the price for our stand. We will never leave the path we have chosen,” he said.

The NCP patriarch said that he had a list of ten top leaders who have faced inquiry. “Some of them even faced action by these agencies. The arrest of NCP leader Anil Deshmukh is the best example of how to misuse power,” he said.

Mr. Pawar’s daughter and Lok Sabha MP Supriya Sule said of all the ED or CBI cases in the last few years, 90-95% were against the Opposition leaders in the country. “Opposition leaders are being targeted. This has been widely reported in the media as well. The ones who are in the Opposition easily get notices from the probe agencies,” she said.

Shiv Sena (UBT) MLA and former Minister Aaditya Thackeray said that those who side with the truth, which is sometimes against the government, are being pressurised with the help of Central probe agencies – a pattern that can be seen across the country.

Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said Mr. Patil might have been summoned based on some information in possession of probe agencies and need not be afraid if he has not done anything.

“Central agencies or State agencies are doing their work. He must have been summoned because probe agencies might be having some information or case against him,” he said.

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