Move follows series of raids last month
PUNE: The Income Tax Department has provisionally attached assets worth ₹1,000 crore allegedly linked to Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.
The move follows the raids last month on businesses and properties belonging to Mr. Pawar’s relatives and aides.
The assets include a sugar factory, a residential property in South Delhi, an office in Mumbai’s upmarket area (believed to be Nirmal Tower in Nariman Point), a resort in Goa and land in different parts of the State, said sources, adding that the department had seized the properties under the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988.
Last month, teams of I-T authorities had raided businesses, including sugar factories, and searched the houses of Mr. Pawar’s sisters in Kolhapur and Pune, as well as the Mumbai office of his son Parth Pawar.
BJP leader Kirit Somaiya, who has been targeting Mr. Pawar and other MVA Government leaders over alleged financial irregularities, tweeted saying that among the assets provisionally attached by the department were the Satara-based Jarandeshwar sugar factory (estimated at ₹600 crore), a South Delhi flat (worth ₹20 crore), the Nirmal office of Mr. Parth Pawar, estimated at ₹25 crore, and a Goa resort valued at ₹250 crore.
“These properties are owned by Ajit Pawar’s son, his wife, his mother, his sister and son-in-law,” tweeted the BJP leader.
At the time of the raids, Mr. Pawar had said that he felt aggrieved that authorities were raiding the houses of his sisters in Pune and Kolhapur while stressing that all firms and entities linked to him had always paid their taxes regularly.
“As the State’s Finance Minister, I am aware of the need to maintain fiscal discipline. Companies linked to me have never defaulted in taxes," Mr. Pawar had said last month.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar, too, had reacted strongly to the raids, mocking the BJP Government at the Centre by remarking that he was not worried by the “guests at home” (I-T authorities).
The NCP chief further warned that the public would teach the BJP a lesson for shamelessly misusing Central agencies in such a reckless fashion. He had remarked that the action reeked of “excessive use of power” and said that the I-T raids were perhaps a reaction to his strong comments on the Lakhimpur Kheri incident in Uttar Pradesh, which he likened to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
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