MSCB case: Chargesheet against 3 Maharashtra ex-ministers | India News

MUMBAI: The ED filed two supplementary chargesheets naming three former ministers in a money laundering case connected to the Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank (MSCB) last week. It is in continuation of an earlier chargesheet the agency had filed in a special court in March naming a company linked to deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar.
The former ministers named in the supplementary chargesheets are Ranjeet Deshmukh of Congress, NCP’s Prajakt Tanpute and Arjun Khotkar who recently joined CM Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena. Others named are Subhash Deshmukh and Sameer Padmakar Mulay.
In one chargesheet, the ED alleged that the accused entered into a criminal conspiracy for purchasing co-operative sugar mills at throwaway prices along with hundreds of acres owned by the mills through auctions held by MSCB. The accused held official positions in the MSCB or in the auctioned mills and they played a crucial role in the fraudulent sale transactions.
In the chargesheet connected to Ram Ganesh Gadkari mill, the ED said its account became a non-performing asset (NPA) in 1997 with Rs 71.4 crore outstanding. The MSCB board of directors sold the mill in 2007 for Rs 12.9 crore to Prasad Sugars & Allied Agro Products Pvt Ltd; the sale certificate was issued in 2010. No efforts were made by MSCB to fetch a better price for the defunct sugar mill and the 110 acres under it. Only two firms which were linked participated in the bid. Prasad Tanpure was on MSCB’s board.
“The misuse of the influence of Prasad Tanpure over MSCB is also evident from the fact that payments were not received for more than three years seven months from Prasad Sugar & Allied Agro Industries. Still the MSCB did not take any stern action to cancel the auction process,” said the chargesheet.
It added, “There was conflict of interest, as Prasad Tanpure was on board of MSCB and his son Prajakt Tanpure was bidding on behalf of Prasad Sugar & Allied Agro Products.” Ranjeet Deshmukh has been named as he is former chairman of Ram Ganesh Gadkari Mill and former minister for agriculture and textiles in Maharashtra. He was also involved in a deal on purchase of the mill’s assets.
The second chargesheet relates to auction of Jalna Sahakari Sugar Factory Ltd mill, Ramnagar along with its 235 acres to a firm named Tapadia Constructions for Rs 42 crore. Tapadia Constructions merely acquired the mill and sold it. It did not even have funds to pay the earnest money deposit for the bid; it was paid through 14 different companies. Among the companies, four were based in Kolkata and two in Surat while eight were in Mumbai. Tapadia was not able to give any valid explanations about the reasons for receiving funds from these entities.
The ED chargesheet said, “Tapadia Constructions did not operate the mill and after a few months it sold it along with 235 acres of land to Arjun Sugar Industries. The structure of Arjun Sugar Industries was 81% investment by Padmakar Mulay and family while the remaining amount of 19% was invested by Arjun Khotkar and his family.”

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