Mumbai: In what can cause serious problems for Narayan Rane, the new ally of BJP-led Nationalist Democratic Alliance (NDA), a criminal PIL has been filed in the Bombay High Court. The PIL has sought directions to the Enforcement Directorate to “reopen” a multi-crore money laundering case against Rane and his associate Avigna group head — Kailash Agarwal.
The criminal PIL has been filed by journalist-turned-activist Ketan Tirodkar. In his petition, Tirodkar has stated, “I learnt from my sources in the last week of September that the Union Finance Ministry had directed the ED to stop the probe it initiated against Avighna group owner Kailash Agarwal & Neelam Hotels Pvt. Ltd. founder Narayan Rane. The ED was probing their money laundering operations.”
Tirodkar has claimed that the ED had initiated preliminary enquiry in January 2017 and had also collected documents pertaining to thr companies allegedly floated by Rane and Agarwal. He has also claimed that after interviewing Agarwal, the central agency had prima facie opined for registration of a First Information Report (FIR).
According to Tirodkar, the ED closed the case soon after “change in political affiliations” of Rane, the former chief minister of Maharashtra. The petition states, “Soon after Rane changed his political affiliations, the ED got orders to stop the probe against him.”
Highlighting the documents he claims to have obtained, Tirodkar has said, ‘It has been a regular modus-operandi of the political executives across the party-lines to initiate criminal investigations against inconvenient political leaders and then sabotage the same when the targeted leaders enter into a Marriage of Convenience. We have seen it happening in Adarsh scam wherein leaders across the party-lines are involved while only a couple of bureaucrats have seen the jail doors.” Accordingly, the petition has sought a direction to the ED to file a status report of the case and then resume the probe.