Opposition leader Pravin Darekar’s ‘labourer’ claim ‘bogus’: Charge sheet | Mumbai news

Mumbai: The MRA Marg police have concluded that the claim made by Pravin Darekar, leader of opposition in the legislative council, of being a labourer was “bogus” and the labour society was unable to produce any documents to substantiate the claim. Police officials were told that the papers were lost in the flood of July 26, 2005.

The police have annexed statements of several labourers associated with Pratidnya Labour Cooperative Society with which Darekar was associated and which he used to contest the elections for the Mumbai District Central Co-Operative Bank and was its chairman for 10 years, from 2011 to 2021.

In their statements to the police, the labourers said that they had never seen Darekar working as a labourer. Some of them had heard that he was a supervisor, but had never seen him visiting any site undertaken by the labour society. Some of them had only seen him at the society’s annual general meetings.

“Despite becoming a Member of Legislative Council (MLC), Darekar had in April, 2017 (30 days), November, 2017 (20 days) and December, 2017 (10 days) accepted 25,750 as wages in cash,” said the charge sheet.

“However, during the same period, Darekar was present in Nagpur for the winter session of the assembly and he had accepted the wages as a supervisor. Darekar had while enrolling with Pratidnya Labour Cooperative Society not given any documents that confirmed he was a labourer,” it added.

“As per a circular of the State Co-operative Commissioner of 1975, only a person who does labour work will qualify as a labourer. While filing the affidavit for election Darekar had declared 2.13 crore worth of immovable properties, out of which, property worth 91,02,000 was in his own name. He got 2.5 lakh every month as honorarium. In such a situation, how can Darekar be a labourer,” said the charge sheet.

The BJP leader was disqualified as a labourer by the co-operatives department on February 3, 2022, as he did not fit the definition of a labourer. “Also, Darekar had been posing as the member of Pratidnya Labour Cooperative Society; the organisation itself is fake and only on paper,” said the charge sheet.

The police investigation has revealed that the office address given by Pratidnya Labour Cooperative Society was of Sanjay Jagdale, a college friend of Darekar at Modi Street in Fort.

The investigation also found that Pravin Margaj was the president of Pratidnya Labour Cooperative Society and despite knowing that Darekar was not a labourer, he allowed him to be a member of the society and later even win the election of the bank.

Similarly, Shrikant Kadam when he was the president of the society, despite knowing that Darekar had won the MLC elections allowed him to be a member of the society and later win elections of the bank. The police have also named both Margaj and Kadam as accused in the case.

The police said they have charged the three under sections 199 (False statement made in declaration which is by law receiva­ble as evidence), 200 (Using as true such declaration knowing it to be false), 406 (punishment for criminal intimidation), 417 (punishment for cheating), 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 465 (punishment for forgery), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating), 471 (Using as genuine a forged [document or electronic record]) and 120 B (Punishment of criminal conspiracy) of Indian Penal Code (IPC).

“Overall contents of the charge sheet itself showed that no criminal offence was committed. Even if the charge sheet is accepted as is, no offence is made out. It is a politically motivated First Information Report (FIR), followed by a politically motivated charge sheet,” said advocate Akhilesh Chaubey, who represents Darekar.

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