Mumbai Police's Economic Offences Wing (EOW) on Tuesday summoned Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kirit Somaiya and his son Neil to appear on April 13, in connection with the alleged misappropriation of funds collected to save aircraft carrier INS Vikrant from decommissioning. A three-member team of EOW conducted searches for BJP leader Kirit Sommaiya at his office and other premises.
According to the sources, the summons was issued a day after a Mumbai sessions court rejected Kirit Somaiya’s pre-arrest bail request. When the EOW officials reached Somaiya's Mulund residence and office, the father-son duo was not found at either of the addresses. The officials then pasted a notice at both the addresses, which asks them to be present for questioning.
While police claim that the father-son duo are untraceable at the moment, it was premature to label them absconding. Last week, the Trombay police registered a first information report (FIR) against Kirit Somaiya and others based on a complaint filed by an ex-serviceman who alleged that the father-son duo did not deposit the money collected from the public to preserve INS Vikrant.
In a video message put out on Twitter early on Tuesday, Somaiya rubbished the charges. The BJP leader said they did hold a one-day symbolic event to make their point against the scrapping of the aircraft carrier on 10 December 2013 and collected just ₹11,000. Ten years after the symbolic event, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has started floating “bogus allegations” that ₹58 crores was collected and diverted without any documentary evidence to stop him from targeting the Uddhav Thackeray government.