Sharad Pawar’s “Expectations” Swipe At BJP Over Party Leader’s Questioning

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Amid questioning of senior NCP leader Jayant Patil by the Enforcement Directorate in Mumbai, party chief Sharad Pawar on Monday hinted that the action against some leaders could be the fallout of their refusal to meet “expectations” of the ruling dispensation.Mr Pawar said they will suffer but will never deviate from the path they have chosen.He was speaking to reporters in Pune on the action taken by ED and other Central probe agencies against some leaders of the Nationalist Congress Party.“A possibility cannot be denied that the current dispensation has had some expectations from some 9-10 leaders of 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 in a veiled attack on the BJP-led Central government.“As some people could not digest this (NCP’s stand), hence we have to suffer. But we are not worried about it,” he said.Notably, speaking on ED summoning him, Maharashtra NCP chief Jayant Patil had said, as he was part of the opposition, one needs to face such type of suffering.When asked about ED quizzing Patil, Mr Pawar said, “I have a list of some key 10 leaders who have faced inquiry. Some of them even faced action by these agencies.” Questioning of Mr Patil has been underway at ED’s office in south Mumbai for more than eight hours in a money laundering case linked to alleged financial irregularities in the now-bankrupt financial services firm IL&FS, an official said.“NCP leader (former home minister) Anil Deshmukh faced allegations of accepting Rs 100 crore for an educational institute and had to spend 13-14 months in jail. Later, it was revealed that the amount received was Rs 1.50 crore and not Rs 100 crore. It underscores the level of exaggeration of allegations.”People were shocked when they first heard about such allegations. Deshmukh was defamed. It is the best example of how to misuse power,” Mr Pawar claimed.Queried on whether the Maharashtra government favoured former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh (now retired) by revoking his suspension, Mr Pawar said, “If the state government goes deeper into the complaints and cases filed against Singh, it will be akin to the opening of Pandora’s box. One should find out how many cases are pending against Singh.” Mr Pawar said jailed leader Nawab Malik, who belongs to NCP, stands vindicated when asked about former NCB zonal director Sameer Wankhede facing the CBI probe in the Cordelia cruise ‘drug bust’ case.“What Malik used to allege is turning out to be true. He has been harassed for speaking the truth,” he added.Mr Deshmukh was granted bail by the Bombay High Court in December 2022 in a corruption case being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) after IPS officer Param Bir Singh (now retired) in March 2021 alleged that Deshmukh, then home minister, had given a target to police officers to collect Rs 100 crore per month from restaurants and bars in Mumbai.Mr Deshmukh was arrested in November 2021 by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case.He is currently out on bail.Mr Malik, a former Maharashtra minister, was arrested on February 23, 2022, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) by the ED in a probe linked to the activities of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his aides.