Mumbai: The Shiv Sena will have a show of strength on January 5 when the party MP Sanjay Raut’s wife Varsha Raut will appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the PMC Bank scam. Shiv Sainiks from Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Mira Bhayander are expected to mobilize in large numbers on that day at the ED’s office situated at Ballard Estate in South Mumbai.
Although there has not been any formal announcement from the ruling Shiv Sena, which heads the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, senior party leaders have sent verbal messages for mobilisation at the ED’s office on Monday. Raut had already announced that if BJP will go on using Central investigating agencies against political opponents, Shiv Sena will give a befitting reply in its own style.
A Shiv Sena legislator, who is in constant communication with the Shakhas, said Sainiks are agitated over the manner in which BJP has been targeting the party and misusing the central investigating agencies. “It is like a Sharad Pawar moment. When ED in September last year had named Pawar in a money-laundering case in connection with a scam at Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank, the Pawar had said he will visit the ED office even though it has not summoned him yet. Pawar’s aggressive posture forced the Fadnavis government to send the Police Commissioner to the former's residence. Citing law and order issues, Pawar cancelled his visit. On Monday, the party will send a strong message to BJP that it was not deterred by such politically motivated moves.’’
Another Sena legislator said that the party will also expose how the BJP-led government at the Centre was abusing the investigative machinery. He reminded that the party has alleged that the ED's notice to Varsha Raut and also to Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik was a conspiracy by the central government to overthrow the state government.
Raut and a couple of party leaders including Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray have slammed BJP and also attacked the misuse of ED for vendetta politics. ED had already summoned the party legislator Pratap Sarnaik and his sons in connection with in connection with an alleged money laundering case related to a private firm.
ED on Friday attached properties worth Rs 72 crore of businessman Pravin Raut in the HDIL-PMC Bank money laundering case and said Rs 55 lakh of the tainted money was transferred to Varsha Raut through Pravin Raut’s wife Madhuri.
According to ED, investigation revealed that Pravin Raut paid Rs 1.6 crore to his wife Madhuri from the proceeds of the crime. Out of that money, Madhuri transferred Rs 55 lakh as interest free loan to Varsha Raut. The amount was used to purchase a flat at Dadar (east).