Mumbai: In the wake of allegations of misusing his official position in allotting government land to a company in which he had stakes, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Wednesday conceded that he had a share holding in that firm but not at the time of allotment.

"I have no links with the company A G Mercantile and have no shares in the company," Pawar said while making a statement in the legislative Assembly following a report by a TV news channel.

Pawar, however, admitted having bought 8,000 shares of the A G Marcantile in May 2005 but said he divested them in eight months.

"I held no shares during subsequent elections, so there was no question of disclosing the same in my poll affidavit," he said.

According to the TV channel, A G Mercantile, one of whose directors is Vinod Goenka, an accused in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, was given three acres of land at Karjat in adjoining Raigad district, for constructing a tourist resort.

The channel claimed Pawar held 8,800 shares in the company, adding that it was agreed that the company would help strengthen the Bhilavli dam in the area and was given the land
for the services rendered.
AG Mercantile was given a contract to repair the dam in 2007 when Ajit Pawar, a nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, was irrigation minister, the channel claimed.

The revelations came days after Sharad Pawar denied any links with one of the main accused in 2G spectrum scam Shahid Balwa, Goenka's business partner.

Meanwhile, Congress refused to comment on the issue. "I do not know the details of the issue. So it will not be appropriate for me to comment on it," party spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan told reporters in New Delhi.

Pawar said Vinod Goenka of D B Realty became a director of the company only in 2009 and "I have no connection with A G Mercantile whatsoever after I sold the shares in 2005", he said, adding that Girish Amonkar, Atul Khanolkar and Vinod Goenka are the three incumbent directors.

The Deputy Chief Minister informed that the then state government had in 1995 given on lease for 12 years a 1,755 sq metre plot in name of late Meenatai, wife of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray in Bhilavli.

"The lease expired in 2008. But the government will not act vindictively in extending the lease," Pawar said.

Taking strong objection to the reply by the minister, Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai demanded that the reference be expunged from the proceedings. However, Pawar said he had not levelled any allegations.

(Agencies)