Sharad Pawar defends Chhagan Bhujbal, says NCP stands by him

Mumbai, Jun 18: Breaking his silence over ongoing probe by ACB against his party colleague Chhagan Bhujbal, NCP chief Sharad Pawar today came out in strong defence of the former deputy chief minister saying the investigators are more interested in 'publicity' than conducting a "fair" inquiry.

"Instead of conducting a fair probe, the investigators are more interested in leaking information to the media. This is surprising. I have handled Home department and this is not the manner in which investigation is done," Pawar told reporters here.

Sharad Pawar defends Bhujbal

Pawar said the ACB officers are exaggerating the valuation of Bhujbal's properties to the media. "Bhujbal is our colleague and we will stand by him without interfering in the probe. We would help him in every- way," he said.

Interestingly, Home department is headed by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis whose government had given consent to the Anti-corruption Bureau to probe alleged irregularities against Bhujbal in construction of the Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi.

Pawar was addressing reporters after Bhujbal called on him and apprised him about how the ongoing raids on his residential and office premises in different parts of the state were "unfair and unjust".

Pawar said he felt there was a substance in Bhujbal's defence.

"All decisions for which Bhujbal is being held accountable were taken by the Cabinet. Cabinet decisions are decisions of government. The way details of the investigations are being leaked is surprising and this is objectionable and not a sign of good probe. Chief Minister should look into this," he said.

Taking a dig at the statements made by some BJP leaders that NCP leaders would be arrested for their "role in scams," Pawar said, "All of us, including myself, are waiting to see when this government puts us behind bars."

State unit BJP president Raosaheb Danve had earlier said that senior NCP leaders including Sharad Pawar's nephew Ajit Pawar, Sunil Tatkare and Bhujbal -- who all were ministers in the previous Democratic Front government -- will soon be put behind bars for indulging in corruption.


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