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The Income Tax Department on Thursday raided premises of multiple sugar mills and real estate groups, including those linked to Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and his three sisters' residences. I-T sleuths are searching official and residential premises of the linked individuals in Mumbai, Pune and Satara.

Pawar has said he has no problem with the tax department raiding companies linked to him, but he was upset that his three sisters were dragged into this. 

"Income Tax department conducted raids at houses and companies of my 3 sisters. I don't know the reason behind it but these are politically motivated raids. They are doing a low-level of politics. I feel bad," Pawar said.

Pawar, who is also the state's finance minister, said some entities linked to him were raided. "We pay taxes every year. Since I am the finance minister, I am aware of the fiscal discipline. All entities linked to me have paid taxes," Pawar said while speaking to reporters.

Entities linked to three of his sisters -- one residing in Kolhapur and two in Pune -- were also raided, he said. "I am upset because (premises of) my sisters, who got married 35 to 40 years ago, have been raided. If they were raided as Ajit Pawar's relatives, then people must think about it...the way the agencies are being (mis)used," he said. 

The senior NCP leader, whose party shares power with the Shiv Sena and Congress in Maharashtra, said before the 2019 Assembly elections, his party chief Sharad Pawar's name was dragged into a bank case. 

On today's raids, Pawar said, "The I-T department is in a better position to say whether there was a political motive behind the raid or they found something else." 

The tax department officials raided some businesses linked to family members of Ajit Pawar and some real estate developers on charges of alleged tax evasion, according to a PTI report. 

They said the searches are being conducted in Mumbai, Pune, Satara and a few other cities in Maharashtra and Goa. 

The premises linked to business groups such as DB Realty, Shivalik, Jarandeshwar Sahkari Sugar Karkhana (Jarandeshwar SSK) and businesses linked to Ajit Pawar's sisters are being covered under the ongoing operation. 

Jarandeshwar SSK was in the news recently, after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in July attached over 65 crore worth of land, building, plant and machinery of its sugar mill at Chimangaon-Koregaon in Satara under the anti-money laundering law. 

The ED had claimed that the cooperative-run sugar mill was linked to the Maharashtra Deputy chief minister and his family.

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