Land scam: Now Deputy CM Ajit Pawar in the dock

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Mumbai, April 20: Trouble appears to be brewing for Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar following allegations that he misused his official position to allot land to a company in which he holds shares.

According to a TV news channel report based on investigations carried by it, the company, AG Mercantile, one of whose directors is Vinod Goenka, an accused in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, was given three acres of land at Karjat in adjoining Raigad district, for tourism development.

The channel claimed Ajit Pawar holds 8,800 shares in the company.

It was agreed that AG Mercantile would help strengthen the Bhilavli dam in the area and was given the land for the services rendered, it said. AG Mercantile was given a contract to repair the dam in 2007 when Ajit Pawar, a nephew of the NCP chief Sharad Pawar, was irrigation minister, the channel said.

The revelations come days after Sharad Pawar denied any links with 2G spectrum scam accused Shahid Balwa, Goenka's business partner. The NCP boss, however, had said Vinod Goenka''s father was known to him.

While Ajit Pawar declined to comment on the claimed expose, an NCP spokesperson said only the deputy chief minister would be alone to respond to the accusations.

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