MUMBAI: A day after he resigned as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator, Ajit Pawar on Saturday said that he took the decision because he believed that his party chief Sharad Pawar was being targeted and defamed because of him.
Addressing a press conference in Mumbai, Ajit Pawar said, '"How can Sharad Pawar be dragged in this? Sharad Pawar has no connection with this bank. I have reached here because of Sharad Pawar. He and the NCP are defamed because I was on the board of the bank. This is the reason I have resigned without asking him."
Ajit Pawar (NCP), on cooperative bank scam case: Sharad Pawar has no connection with this bank. I feel his name has been dragged just because I am his relative. Because of me, Sharad Pawar & NCP are being defamed. This is the reason I have resigned without asking him. pic.twitter.com/BMxTG8mgfo
— ANI (@ANI) September 28, 2019
Ajit had caused a flutter in the party on Friday when he sent his resignation as the MLA from Baramati segment to Legislative Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagade, which was later accepted.
The former deputy chief minister of Maharashtra did not disclose the reason while tendering the resignation.
It may be recalled that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had filed a money laundering case against the NCP patron, his nephew and former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and about 70 others on September 23 in connection with a Rs 25,000-crore scam in a Maharashtra cooperative bank.
Replying to question on ED probe against the Pawar family, Ajit said, "Co-operative banks help farmers. Sometimes the help is given by going out of the way. Even the Maharashtra government gave four sugar co-operatives lending by going out of the way. How can there be a scam of Rs 25,000 crore in a bank which has a deposit of Rs 11,500 crore? How can they quote such a huge amount?"
Ajit said that Sharad Pawar has no connection with this bank. I feel his name has been dragged just because I am his relative, he said.
Explaining his decision to resign as a legislator, Ajit Pawar said that the senior NCP leadership would not have allowed him to resign had he informed them of his decision.
"Everyone is shocked to hear about my resignation. The senior leaders would never have allowed me to resign. I apologise for hurting the feeling of my colleagues and workers. I also thought if it was right to put my party in this position ahead of the assembly elections," Ajit Pawar said.
NCP president Sharad Pawar had earlier scotched perception of a family feud over the resignation of his nephew Ajit Pawar as a legislator.
Ajit's resignation in the run-up to the October assembly polls came on a day when NCP leaders and workers rallied behind Sharad Pawar, against whom the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a case in connection with the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) scam.