The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has sent a notice to Varsha Raut, wife of Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, in connection with the PMC Bank Scam. Varsha Raut will reach the ED office on December 29 for questioning. Slamming the Centre, Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi leaders called it a blatant misuse of the central agencies by the government. Varsha received 55 lakhs in her bank account and ED has been probing the source of this transfer. Sanjay Raut said that he would never be scared of such politically driven things.
The Congress and the NCP came out strongly against the central government over the issue of an ED notice to Sanjay Raut’s wife Varsha Raut.
Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said “This is nothing but revenge politics and we express disapproval of it strongly. These days BJP is using ED as their missile against all those who challenge their political existence. That was never seen before in Maharashtra politics,”
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chairperson and senior cabinet minister Balasaheb Thorat too expressed a similar opinion. “The only reason for doing such a thing is to strike fear in our hearts. They want to spread panic among those who speak against the BJP. This is not democratic. In a democracy, everyone has the right to express their opinion,” he said. Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant also hit out at the BJP and said the party should now open an Enforcement Directorate office in its own premises of headquarters.
In an apparent swipe at the Centre, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said whoever speaks against policies or leaders of the BJP is facing action by the Central agencies. Anybody who speaks against policies or leaders of the BJP faces the ED or the CBI. As far as the Central Bureau of Investigation is concerned, we had taken a decision that any probe by that agency in Maharashtra cannot be pursued without the permission of the state government. “However, the rights of ordering an ED inquiry is with them (the Central government), but using these rights for the political purpose was something never seen in Maharashtra,” Deshmukh said
Meanwhile, Raut said he has not received any summons from the central agency. In a sarcastic comment, he said he had sent some men to the BJP office to find out if they had received any summons.
In the meantime, Senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan said that the Shiv Sena is not part of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) as the tie-up between the Congress and the Shiv Sena is only limited to Maharashtra. “Shiv Sena is yet to become a part of the UPA. Our alliance with the Sena in Maharashtra is based on a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) and limited to Maharashtra,” he said. The comments by the state PWD minister came just a day after Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut called for expansion of the Congress-led bloc saying that the opposition should unite against the “dictatorial attitude” of the Centre and provide a “formidable alternative” to the Narendra Modi government. Raut had also appreciated Sonia Gandhi and said that she effectively led the UPA all these years with many allies in the fold. Responding to a query on speculation that NCP chief Sharad Pawar may head the UPA, Raut said there was no dearth of leaders in the country. “What is important is the support of people. Apart from Sonia Gandhi, Sharad Pawar has support from a cross-section of people,” he said.
Chavan responded to this comment and said that it was not proper for the Uddhav Thackeray-led party to comment on the UPA leadership. “Sharad Pawar himself has denied the speculation that he will be the next chairperson of the UPA. UPA allies trust the leadership of Sonia Gandhi. So there is no need to discuss the issue,” Chavan said. The Shiv Sena heads the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra, of which the NCP and the Congress are constituents.