Mumbai: Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar said on Saturday that he resigned as MLA in keeping with his "conscience" after his uncle and party chief Sharad Pawar's name got embroiled in the alleged MSC Bank scam for no reason.
Holding a press conference after meeting Sharad Pawar earlier in the day, an emotional Ajit also denied that there was any rift within the Pawar family.
He questioned the allegations against him in connection with the alleged Rs 25,000 crore scam at the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank.
"Sharad Pawar is not even remotely associated with the bank or its transactions in any capacity. Yet, the day before yesterday, only Pawar saheb's name was doing rounds in connection with the case," Ajit Pawar said.
"I reached up to (the post of) deputy chief minister because of Sharad Pawar....I was perturbed as I felt it was because of me that he had to face infamy at this age. Hence, I decided to resign in keeping with my conscience," he added.
"I apologise to NCP workers if their sentiments were hurt by my actions," he said.
About the scam allegations, Ajit Pawar said leaders of all political parties were members of the board of the cooperative bank, and all decisions about sanctioning of loans and other matters were taken collectively.
MSCB held deposits of Rs 11,500-12,000 crore, so how could a scam of Rs 25,000 crore happen, he asked.
The bank had reported a profit of Rs 285 crore, the NCP leader pointed out.
The Mumbai police recently registered an FIR in the case upon the Bombay High Court's orders, which was followed by registration of a case of money laundering by the Enforcement Directorate against Ajit Pawar, Sharad Pawar and others.
Earlier on Saturday, Ajit, who had remained incommunicado after his resignation, met the NCP chief at the latter's residence here.
Sharad Pawar's daughter and NCP MP Supriya Sule also attended the meeting where only members of the Pawar clan were present, sources said.
On Friday, Ajit caused a flutter when he sent his resignation as MLA from Baramati in Pune district to Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagade.
His resignation in the run-up to the October 21 Maharashtra assembly polls came on a day when NCP leaders and workers rallied behind Sharad Pawar who had decided to visit the ED office here. Pawar later cancelled the visit.
Some media reports had said that Ajit was upset because his nephew Rohit Pawar was being promoted in the party at his cost. Reports of a turf-war between Ajit and his cousin Supriya Sule too keep surfacing.