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No problem with raids on companies linked to me, but why drag my sisters: Ajit Pawar

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Mumbai, Oct 7: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Thursday said he has no problem with the Income Tax department raiding companies linked to him, but he was upset that his three sisters were dragged into this. Pawar, who is also the state's finance minister, said some entities linked to him were raided.

Ajit Pawar

"We pay taxes every year. Since I am the finance minister, I am aware of the fiscal discipline. All entities linked to me have paid taxes," Pawar told reporters. Entities linked to three of his sisters -- one residing in Kolhapur and two in Pune -- were also raided, he said.

"I am upset because (premises of) my sisters, who got married 35 to 40 years ago, have been raided. If they were raided as Ajit Pawar's relatives, then people must think about it...the way the agencies are being (mis)used," he said.

The NCP leader, whose party shares power with the Shiv Sena and Congress in Maharashtra, said before the 2019 Assembly polls, his party chief Sharad Pawar's name was dragged into a bank case. On Thursday's raids, he said, "The I-T department is in a better position to say whether there was a political motive behind the raid or they found something else."

The Income Tax Department on Thursday raided some businesses linked to family members of Ajit Pawar and some real estate developers on charges of alleged tax evasion, according to official sources. They said the searches are being conducted in Mumbai, Pune, Satara and a few other cities in Maharashtra and Goa.

The premises linked to business groups such as DB Realty, Shivalik, Jarandeshwar Sahkari Sugar Karkhana (Jarandeshwar SSK) and businesses linked to Ajit Pawar's sisters are being covered under the ongoing operation, the sources said.

Jarandeshwar SSK was in the news recently, after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in July attached over Rs 65 crore worth of land, building, plant and machinery of its sugar mill at Chimangaon-Koregaon in Satara under the anti-money laundering law. The ED had claimed that the cooperative-run sugar mill was linked to Ajit Pawar and his family.

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