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Sep 28, 2012 at 10:52pm IST

More NCP ministers under probe, trouble yet not over for Sharad Pawar

Mumbai: Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Friday sent out a strong message of unity backing Ajit Pawar's resignation from the post of Maharashtra deputy chief minister over the irrigation scam.

"Ajit told me he doesn't want a post till he gets his name cleared," the NCP chief told reporters in Mumbai.

Capping the 72 hour-long political drama in Maharashtra, Sharad Pawar accepted Ajit Pawar's resignation and announced that his nephew would no longer be the deputy chief minister of the state.

In a meeting of MLAs that lasted just over an hour, sources said Ajit Pawar underscored his loyalty to his uncle promising to abide by his decision. Pawar senior's diktat that the 19 ministers who had given their resignations in solidarity should withdraw them, was also followed immediately.

The NCP chief also took a dig at the media over reports of alleged rift between him and his nephew and said there was a "bad news" for the media as there was no "Pawar vs Pawar" battle in the offing.

NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad also backed Sharad Pawar saying the party is united on the issue.

But the political crisis for the NCP is not yet over with probe into allegations of corruption against several other NCP ministers now gathering steam. Ajit Pawar's successor in the Water Resources Ministry Sunil Tatkare is facing an Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) probe and a PIL against him is being heard in a court.

Tatkare allegedly siphoned off crores of rupees meant for irrigation projects and later that money was laundered by buying large tracks of agricultural land through benami companies.

The agricultural land estimated to be close to 300 acres, is mostly in the name of Tatkare's 29-year-old son Aniket. The documents of Ministry of Corporate Affairs accessed by CNN-IBN show that the minister's children Aniket and his 24-year-old daughter Aditi are directors in over two dozen companies.

The Bombay High Court is now hearing a PIL that details how Tatkare abused his official position to form companies in the names of his relatives and employees, even his gardener, to launder money.

Meanwhile, the political crisis that threatened to unseat Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan might have strengthened his hand, at least for now. But with the probe into allegations of corruption against several other NCP ministers like Tatkare, Chhagan Bhujbal and Gulabrao Deokar gathering steam, the road head for the allies will be far from smooth.

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