Huge arms haul from MP's houses

A licensed pistol, a revolver, nine rifles, cartridges, 52 swords, nine Very High Frequency (VHF) walkie-talkies are amongst the list of arms and equipments seized by the CBI team lead by its western region joint director Rishi Raj Singh that conducted the raid in the apartments at Colaba, South Mumbai.

Right hand man of the NCP president Sharad Pawar until recently, Padmasinh is currently in the CBI custody and is accused of murdering his cousin and political rival Pavanraje Nimbalkar and his driver in June 2006.

Pavanraje, who belonged to the Congress, had exposed Padmasinh's involvement in misdeeds and corruption in Terna sugar cooperative in Osmanabad district. He had also revealed that the NCP heavyweight has siphoned funds collected by the factory for Kargil war relief fund.

A CBI official said the agency has captured arms, ammunitions, unaccounted cash worth Rs 7.26 Lakh, incriminating documents, computers and CDs. It has also been learnt that Padmasinh has 11 licenses to carry arms which raises serious questions over why he needed so many.

The state home ministry has been in the hands of the NCP and the man at the helm until recently, R R Patil, had been criticised by the opposition for having shielded Padmasinh, despite Panvel police uncovering evidences of his involvement in the case.

Arrests in the case were made only after the CBI took over the case on the orders of the Bombay High Court and Padmasinh was eventually taken in. He is among the six arrested by the CBI in the Nimbalkar murder case so far. Investigations by the agency have also revealed a plot to kill anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare, who had exposed the Terna sugar factory scam.

Following his arrest June 7, Padmasinh, himself a former home and later irrigation minister, was suspended from the NCP and top leaders sought to distance themselves from him.

Padmasinh has not confessed to involvement in the crime so far and had complained to the Panvel court that the agency has been pressurising him to admit his complicity in the murders. He has also refused to undergo narco and brain mapping tests citing his age and health.

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