Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar on Saturday said that he resigned as MLA in keeping with his conscience, after his uncle and party chief Sharad Pawar’s name cropped up in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank scam “for no reason”, PTI reported. At a press conference in Mumbai, Ajit Pawar also denied that there was any rift in his family.

“Sharad Pawar is not even remotely associated with the bank or its transactions in any capacity,” Ajit Pawar said. “Yet, the day before yesterday, only Pawar saheb’s name was doing rounds in connection with the case. 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.”

Ajit Pawar apologised to party workers who may have been upset by his decision. The leader added that politicians of all parties were on the board of the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank, and took all decisions collectively. He said that the bank held deposits of Rs 11,500-12,000 crore, so it was unfathomable how there could be a scam of Rs 25,000 crore.

Ajit Pawar’s resignation on Friday came three days after the Enforcement Directorate filed a money laundering case against the Nationalist Congress Party leader, and his uncle Sharad Pawar in connection with the scam. Sharad Pawar was due to attend the agency’s summons earlier on Friday, but it asked him not to come. The directorate’s inquiry comes a month before Assembly elections in the state, scheduled for October 21.

An Enforcement Case Information Report, which is equal to a First Information Report, was registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act on Monday. The investigating agency’s decision to file a case came a month after the Bombay High Court ordered the Mumbai Police’s Economic Offences Wing to register an FIR against the Pawars, and 75 others. They are accused of causing the bank to lose Rs 25,000 crore between 2007 and 2011.

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