Mumbai, Dec 28 | Maharashtra’s ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi constituents joined forces against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre government on Monday, a day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) slapped summons on Varsha Raut, the wife of Shiv Sena chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut.
The Nationalist Congress Party and Congress, along with Sena leaders, slammed the BJP for systematically targeting Opposition leaders who speak out against the party or its policies.
Hours before addressing the media, Raut made a telling tweet, going back to a popular Bollywood song from Sanjay Datt debut “Rocky” (1981): “Aa dekhe zara, Kisme kitna hai dum; Jum ke rakhna kadam, Mere sathiyaan (Let’s see, who has the daring, Watch your steps, my friends).”
While saying he didn’t “care” about such a notice, Raut made it clear that if the ED was doing its work, it should be legal, but if illegal, they (ED) should be more careful.
Denying that any such ED notice was received, Raut took a swipe at the opposition BJP, saying: “I have sent my man to the BJP office to pick it up if the (ED) notice has been sent there.. When he returns, we shall know.”
NCP leader and Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said the BJP at the Centre has been misusing central agencies like the ED and the CBI to create fear among political opponents which is “regretful”.
“Anyone who dares to speak against the BJP or its policies, gets targeted by ED-CBI. We have never witnessed this type of politicking ever before,” Deshmukh said.
Congress state President and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said ever since the BJP has taken over at the Centre, central agencies are being deployed to target and browbeat the Opposition parties in such a manner, but the MVA government will not be cowed down by such political tactics.
Sena’s Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray also commented that the ED notice “politics” , while former Union Minister and NCP leader Praful Patel said: “ED notices need not be taken seriously now.”
“There are many people who get ED notices, even the involvement of such persons in cases are not known. Mere summons like these means nothing. If someone is indeed guilty, it will emerge and even the politics behind it shall be known,” Patel said.
NCP national spokesperson and Minister Nawab Malik reiterated that the BJP at the Centre is misusing the central agencies like CBI, ED, IT or others to browbeat the Opposition leaders or those who dare to question the government.
Mumbai Guardian Minister Aslam Khan said before anybody speaks out against the BJP, “they should be prepared to get such notices from ED-CBI” which has become the norm in politics since the past few years under the BJP rule.
Congress state spokesperson Sachin Sawant said this has become a norm since the past 6 year under the BJP rule to dig up 10-year-old cases to harass and intimidate the leaders or persons who speak against the current government.
Mumbai Congress President Bhai Jagtap said that such notices are “the outcome of sheer frustration in the BJP for failing to topple the MVA government since over one year.”
Signalling a busy year end, the ED has summoned Varsha Raut on December 29 followed by a notice for December 30 to senior NCP leader Eknath Khadse – who quit BJP last October, besides the ongoing probes against another senior Sena leader Pratap Sarnaik and his family.
Khadse has been called regarding a Pune land deal while Varsha Raut has to appear in a case pertaining to the PMC Bank.