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Pawar drops ED office visit plan, says won’t get scared off

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Mumbai, Sep 27 : NCP chief Sharad Pawar, named in a money-laundering case by the ED in connection with a scam at Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank, on Friday said he won’t visit the agency’s office “for now”, much to the relief of police and common citizens.

Pawar’s decision came after Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Barve met him at his residence and requested him not to visit the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) office as it may create a law and order situation.

The former Union minister had announced he would go to the ED office at 2 pm, even though the agency has not summoned him yet. He had also appealed to party workers not to gather outside the ED office.

Ahead of Pawar’s proposed visit, the police had imposed prohibitory orders outside the ED office in South Mumbai and stepped up security.

“I have cancelled to go there (ED office) as of now. I am ready to go there when required. We work in politics. But if someone tries to scare off us through agency, they will not succeed,” he told reporters at his residence.

Pawar thanked political leaders who supported him.

“(Congress leaders) Rahul Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and other senior national leaders and the Shiv Sena, too, supported me, I thank them,” he said.

Gandhi had slammed the Modi government for “targeting” Pawar ahead of the Maharashtra polls.

“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,” Gandhi said on Twitter.

The Maratha strongman questioned the timing of the ED case, which came just weeks ahead of the October 21 assembly polls in Maharashtra.

“Our impression is the decision was taken to malign the image of heads of opposition parties at a particular time (during poll time).

“Hence, I wanted to visit the ED office. I had also conveyed the decision to visit the office in writing. I got a reply to this yesterday. It said I not been summoned, that I need not visit the office, that I will be informed about visiting the office whenever required,” he said.

Party workers had been thronging the megapolis ahead of Pawar’s planned visit to the ED office, putting law enforcement personnel on their toes to deal with any law and order problem.

Without naming any party, Pawar said the effort to “scare off” opposition leaders through probe agencies will not succeed.

Pawar said he did not want to give the impression that he was shying away from facing probe.

“I wanted to visit the office in connection with the case regarding the Maharashtra State Cooperative (MSC) Bank, I am ready to offer whatever cooperation needed.

“But I would be out for campaigning in Maharashtra given the elections have been declared. Hence, I would not be available for probe. But none should mistake this for me not being ready for the probe,” the NCP chief said.

He said NCP workers were upset over filing of the case against him.

“Mumbai’s Commissioner Police and Joint Police Commissioner met me. There is dissent among workers after the case was filed. They were being stopped from coming to the city. The CP said there was a possibility of law and order situation getting disturbed due to this.

“I myself have handled the state’s home department in the past. I don’t want any of my action to cause inconvenience to common people,” the former Maharashtra chief minister said.

The 78-year-old politician denied any wrongdoing and asserted he was not associated with the cooperative bank in any capacity.

“I was not associated with the bank as its member or director. Yet, my name was mentioned in it,” he said.

“We work in politics. If someone tries to scare us off through the Enforcement Directorate or any other department, he/she will not succeed,” Pawar said.

The Baramati baron said he will now tour the rain- battered Pune district.

NCP workers had staged protests in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra when the ED named Pawar in the case earlier this week.

Anticipating similar protests on Friday, orders prohibiting movement of groups of people under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure have been imposed outside the ED office, an official said.

A late Thursday night communication from the police said prohibitory orders were also imposed under the jurisdictions of Colaba, Cuffe Parade, Marine Drive, Dongri, Azad Maidan, J J Marg and MRA Marg police stations in South Mumbai.

The ED has filed the 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, and 70 erstwhile functionaries of the cooperative lender.

The NCP has termed the ED case as politically motivated.

Entertainment

Urmila Matondkar to join Shiv Sena on Monday, a year after exiting Congress

Urmila Matondkar had unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections from Mumbai North seat as a Congress candidate. Urmila Matondkar had taken on senior BJP leader Gopal Shetty.

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urmila matondkar congress mumbai

Urmila Matondkar, Bollywood actor-turned-politician who contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections on a Congress ticket and resigned five months later, is all set to join the Shiv Sena. Urmila Matondkar will join Shiv Sena on Monday, over a year after leading the Congress party. No further details about her joining the Shiv Sena have been shared.

The development comes a year after Urmila Matondkar resigned from the primary membership of the Congress, citing petty politics as the reason. Urmila Matondkar had joined the Congress in March 2019 ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and exited it in September 2019.

In her statement, Urmila Matondkar said, “My political and social sensibilities refuse to allow vested interests in the party to use me as a means to fight petty in-house politics instead of working on a bigger goal in Mumbai Congress.”

Urmila Matondkar said the thought of resignation came to her after no action was taken regarding her letter in which she had criticised close aides of senior party leader Sanjay Nirupam.

“To my utter dismay, the letter containing privileged and confidential communication was conveniently leaked to the media which according to me was an act of blatant betrayal. Needless to say, no one from the party was apologetic or even concerned towards me for the same despite my repeated protests,” Urmila Matondkar said in her statement.

Urmila Matondkar also said she will continue to work for people with honesty and dignity as she thanked all those who helped and supported her. On November 30, Urmila Matondkar is joining the Shiv Sena.

Urmila Matondkar had unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections from Mumbai North seat as a Congress candidate. Urmila Matondkar had taken on senior BJP leader Gopal Shetty.

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India

Centre should withdraw ‘anti-farmer laws’, says Digvijaya Singh

If Modi ji had discussed with the farmers before bringing the anti-farmer laws, why would this situation have happened? Modi ji should withdraw these legislations.

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digvijay singh

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over ongoing protests against “anti-farmer” laws and said that the Centre should withdraw these legislations.

Singh added that these laws should be submitted to the Parliamentary Committee for reconsideration after discussing with the farmers.

“If Modi ji had discussed with the farmers before bringing the anti-farmer laws, why would this situation have happened? Modi ji should withdraw these legislations. And again after discussing with the farmers, submit these laws to the Parliamentary Committee for reconsideration,” he tweeted.

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Politics

Now, Rabri Devi dubs Nitish as ‘warrior of sophistry’

Tejashwi also alleged that Nitish Kumar was facing actions in a murder case of 1991 and that the case was closed recently.

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Rabri Devi

Patna: A day after RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav took a dig at Nitish Kumar and provoked him enough to angrily hit back, Tejashwi’s mother Rabri Devi on Saturday dubbed the Bihar Chief Minister as a “warrior of sophistry”.

“He is a ‘kutark ke yoddha’ (warrior of sophistry). He claims that he made Tejashwi the Deputy CM of Bihar. It is absolute rubbish. He doesn’t have any shame left. In the 2015 Assembly elections, we won 80 seats and the Janata Dal-United got only 69 seats. Tejashwi was the leader of 80 MLAs and Nitish did not oblige him by offering the post of Deputy CM. You (Nitish) have to thank Lalu Prasad ji for extending a political lifeline to you in 2015,” Rabri told the media at her residence here.

“When a person becomes weak, he generally becomes angry and blows his fuse. Nitish Kumar is losing his cool these days and using unparliamentary language against the Leader of Opposition (Tejashwi). The CM is using highly objectionable words for him,” said Rabri Devi, a former Chief Minister of Bihar.

Nitish Kumar on Friday lost his cool after a personal attack by Tejashwi, who said in the Assembly that Nitish Kumar did not become father to a second child as he was probably scared of girl child.

Tejashwi also alleged that Nitish Kumar was facing actions in a murder case of 1991 and that the case was closed recently.

An angry Nitish Kumar in his speech later in the Bihar Assembly accused Tejashwi of lying and indulging in idle chatter.

He also clarified that he had made the remarks about 8-9 children of people just to inject some humour during an election rally.

Meanwhile, Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) President Jitan Ram Manjhi said: “Tejashwi crossed the limit in the Assembly and used unparliamentary language to personally attack the Chief Minister. He should apologise. Nitish Kumar had made the remark at a political rally and not in the Assembly.”

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