Social activist and a vociferous propagator of the anti-corruption ombudsman Lokpal, Anna Hazare on Tuesday told a Special CBI court in Mumbai that there is a threat to his life as a contract has been given to kill him for raising his voice against the corruption in the Terna Sugar Factory in Osmanabad.

Anna Hazare, whose full name is Kisan Baburao Hazare, was deposing as a prosecution witness in the ongoing murder trial of Congress leader Pawan Raje Nimbalkar before Special Judge Anand Yavalkar, He said that he learnt about the threat to his life from the media following which he lodged a complaint with the Parner Police Station in Ahmednagar.

Padamsinh Patil, a former minister and NCP leader who is a prime accused in the 2006 killing of his cousin Nimbalkar is linked to the Osmanabad-based sugar factory and is currently the President of the Terna Public Charitable Trust.

Hazare claimed that before he lodged the complaint he had notified the Prime Minister and the Maharashtra Chief Minister about the risk to his life but no action was taken because Patil was a relative of Sharad Pawar, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President.

Hazare, 82, said that in protest against the threats to his life, he had returned his Padma Shri and Vriksha Mitra awards and sat on a hunger strike after which the government appointed a commission of enquiry headed by a retired Supreme Court judge.

He also said that one of the accused in the case had given a statement in which he had given details about the conspiracy to eliminate him.

“Patil threatened me with dire consequences and pressurised me to withdraw my complaints in the matter. Once his men came to my office, offered me a blank cheque and asked me to write any figure, for which I lodged a separate complaint,” Hazare told the Special Court.

Hazare appeared before the Special Court on Tuesday after a Supreme Court order in May 2019 which overruled an earlier order of the Bombay High Court exempting him (Hazare) from recording his statement in the trial court.

The trial in the case had commenced in July 2011 before the Alibaug Court in Raigad. In 2012, the Supreme Court transferred it to Mumbai after many witnesses turned hostile.

(With IANS inputs)