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Ex Maha minister’s mill seized for Rs 383 crore dues


Mumbai : A sugar mill owned by former Maharashtra minister Babanrao Pachpute in Ahmednagar district has been seized by its financer over non-payment of loan dues.

The BJP leader’s Saikrupa Sugar and Allied Industries mill in Shrigonda tehsil of Ahmednagar district had a total outstanding amount of Rs 383 crore.

The financer — Punjab National Bank at Kalyaninagar in Pune on Friday communicated to Ahmednagar District Collector about the seizure of the mill and its property.

The mill is owned by Pachpute, who was the state minister for tribal development from NCP in the previous government.

He subsequently fell out with NCP leadership, and joined BJP before the 2014 state elections, but failed to retain his seat from Shrigonda Assembly segment in Ahmednagar district.

Saikrupa Sugar Mill is one of the biggest establishments in the state in terms of crushing capacity, but Ahmednagar being a rain-shadow region–his mill could not get sufficient supply of sugarcane in last some years. It increased sugar production cost and Pachpute failed to get sufficient rates for his mill during last couple of years. The direct impact was on repayment of his loan amount.

The mill had sought a loan from Punjab National Bank, Andhra Bank and Bank of Baroda that disbursed amounts to the tune of Rs 278 crore in 2012, where PNB was the lead bank.

Including interest over the loan, the total outstanding amount reached up to Rs 383 crore and the mill management expressed its inability to repay it.

The PNB on December 17, 2015 granted 60-day notice period for repayment of the loan.

After the mill failed to do so, the bank on March 23 issued the seizure notice to the management that it is taking charge of the mill. It undertook the procedure of collecting details of total land holding, real estate belonging to the management of the mill among others.

The PNB yesterday informed Ahmednagar district collector Anil Kawade that it has seized the property of the mill including Pachpute’s office and a bungalow named ‘Mauli’, in Shrigonda town.

Kawade confirmed the development and stated that he is waiting for the further instructions from the state government regarding the same.

Yogesh Pande, spokesperson of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna, a farmers’ front in the state said, “The mill has an outstanding amount of Rs 35 crore to sugarcane cultivators. It should be repaid to farmers first. If the bank is going to sell the mill and its property to some private entity, the farmers’ arrears cannot be ignored. We are closely watching the development and if needed, we will stage an agitation for our payment.”

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