Mumbai, Sep 26 (IANS) On the eve of his voluntary visit to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office here on Friday, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar on Thursday appealed to all his followers and cadres to main peace and calm, and ensure that people are not inconvenienced.
In a series of tweets, Pawar said: “I will be visiting the Mumbai ED office at Ballard Estate tomorrow, Friday, 27 September at 14.00 hrs. I appeal to all my NCP cadre and supporters not to gather near the ED office premises.”
He added that in keeping with tradition to honour the Constitution and respect institutions, all the NCP workers and supporters should cooperate with the police and other government agencies.
Pawar’s appeal came against the backdrop of NCP Youth Wing activists staging a noisy protest outside the ED office on Wednesday leading to a police baton charge and several workers being detained.
The NCP also kicked off a poster war to prepare the tempo for Pawar’s trip to the ED office, though the investigating agency has maintained it has not issued any summons to the NCP chief to appear before it.
“I am coming – To end anarchy in politics”, “I am coming – To challenge and question autocracy”, said the posters, besides cartoons figuring him and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
Returning to his combative form, Pawar had on Wednesday volunteered to visit the ED office and fully cooperate after he was named along with his nephew Ajit Pawar in a money-laundering case concerning a Rs 25,000 crore alleged scam in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB).
The election-eve ED step created political tremors in the state, coming a month after the Bombay High Court ordered the Mumbai Police to lodge a first information report in the MSCB matter.
The Maratha strongman with over 50 years of public life said Maharashtra has a long tradition of following the ideals of Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, so “we shall never surrender before the Delhi ‘takht’ (throne)”.
In a veiled attack on the ruling front, Pawar added that the people of the state have responded tremendously to the NCP in the election campaigning and the ED action was a conspiracy hatched against them.
However, the people of the state are watching and understanding everything that is going on before the elections, he said.
Responding, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the government has no role to play in the matter and the allegations were totally baseless.
“The Mumbai Police have filed the FIR on the basis of the Bombay High Court orders. When any scam of Rs 100 crore takes place, the ED also take cognizance and probes the money-laundering angles,” Fadnavis contended.
Dismissing allegations that the state government was instrumental in the developments or targeting someone ahead of the elections, the CM said that the ED has merely followed its procedures.