Sharad Pawar cancels visit to ED office after request from Police Commissioner
Security arrangements in South Mumbai have started to ease in wake of Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar cancelling his trip to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office on Friday.
Pawar reportedly changed his plans following a request by Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Barve.
“I have taken the decision not to go there (ED office) in view of the potential law and order problem it could create and cause inconvenience to the general public. I will decide when to go again at an appropriate date,” Pawar told media persons.
The veteran leader described the ED case against him as “politically motivated” since he was not involved as a director of the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank where the alleged Rs 25,000-crore scam took place.
Pawar also thanked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and others, ruling ally Shiv Sena and leaders from all other parties for the support extended to him.
Pawar said that now the ED plan was cancelled, he would go on a tour of the flood-affected areas of his home district Pune and surroundings where at least 21 persons were killed on Thursday.
Earlier, Barve rushed to meet Pawar and urged him not to violate the prohibitory orders clamped there since Thursday night in anticipation of a law and order problem, NCP National Secretary Jitendra Awhad said.
The NCP patriarch had even written to the ED informing them about his visit. However, the agency too dashed off a letter to Pawar requesting him not to come to its office.
According to sources, the ED, in its response, told him that while his cooperation was appreciated, he is not required to come on Friday and that he will be called as and when required.
ED officials also claimed that deciding to question any person or accused in a case is the prerogative of the “investigating officer” and such a decision is taken when there are reasons to do so.
The ED and police chief’s measures came after other senior police officials, including Joint Police Commissioner V.K. Choubey met Pawar to dissuade him from going to the ED office, apprehending a potential law and order crisis.
Since last night, the south Mumbai area was converted into a fortress with a huge police presence of over 1,500 personnel, restrictions, roadblocks, and prohibitory orders, but the situation relaxed later this afternoon.