Mumbai: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar slammed the BJP-led Central government for income-tax raids on companies linked to his relatives, saying it was time for people to think of the depths to which politics had plummeted. Pawar, who holds charge of the state’s finance and planning departments, said he would have had no problem if the raids were carried out on companies linked to him but was upset as his sisters had been dragged into the matter.
“Raids were carried out on my sisters’ houses. The directors of Jarandeshwar sugar factory have been raided. This is very low-level politics. Just because they are related to me, they are being harassed. Sharad Pawar was also troubled in a similar manner. I don’t know why these raids are being conducted,” said a visibly agitated Pawar. These raids took place days after the Centre appointed him to head the Group of Ministers on GST system reforms.
“I would understand if they were raiding places related to me, but why my sisters’ homes? Two of my sisters are in Pune and one is in Kolhapur. This is very low-grade politics,” he claimed.
“I am upset because the premises of my sisters, who were married off 35 to 40 years ago, have been raided. If they were raided as Ajit Pawar's relatives, then people must think about the way the agencies are being misused," he said.
Pawar said the I-T department was in a better position to say whether there was a political motive behind the raid or if they had found something.
Water Resources Minister & state NCP president Jayant Patil has alleged that the Centre is trying to divert public attention from the Lakhimpur Kheri incident with such raids. “BJP is carrying out these income-tax raids,” said Patil, adding that a few of the sugar factories were not even linked to Ajit Pawar.
“I have been saying for a long time that BJP leaders utter the names of our leaders and actions by ED, income tax, CBI follow. There is no doubt left that it is a BJP’s conspiracy to defame our leaders,” said Patil. He wondered why the BJP was so ‘afraid’ of the NCP.
NCP Minister Nawab Malik slammed the BJP government and claimed that the raids were carried out to target the opposition. However, he noted that NCP leaders would not be scared by such raids, saying that the MVA government was becoming stronger.
Malik criticised the BJP government for deploying Central agencies, including the income-tax department against non-BJP governments, to defame them. “Today’s raids have revealed that the BJ- led government at the Centre was involved in creating a political situation prevalent in West Bengal, by targeting a non-BJP government,” he claimed.