A banner that says “BJP state office” in Hindi has been put up outside the Enforcement Directorate branch in Mumbai, allegedly by Shiv Sena workers this afternoon, after senior party leader Sanjay Raut’s wife was summoned for questioning by the central agency in the PMC bank fraud case.
The banner that says “Bhajapa (BJP) Pradesh Karyalaya” was strung up soon after Mr Raut’s press conference this afternoon where he claimed he has a file on BJP which contains 121 names and he would soon give it to the Enforcement Directorate.
In another video, a police officer is seen speaking to a man putting up the banner, possibly stopping him. The man then tells the officer in Marathi, “You complain to the BMC.” The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is the city’s civic body.
At the press conference, Mr Raut also attacked the BJP – with whom the Sena used to have an alliance – by saying that the BJP office is either a branch of the ED office or vice versa. He also said that the central agencies are being used by the BJP government to silence or pressurize everyone who speaks against the ruling party or is not in an alliance with them.
Mr Raut’s wife Varsha Raut has to meet officials at the Mumbai office of the Enforcement Directorate on December 29. The agency is investigating alleged financial transactions between Varsha Raut and Pravin Raut, who is under arrest in the case, sources said.
When asked if his wife will appear in front of the agency tomorrow, Sanjay Raut said since it is a “political matter” he will discuss it with his family and party before taking a decision.
Mr Raut also said targeting “women of the household is an act of cowardice” and that they had submitted the documents the agency asked for.
Eknath Khadse, who changed camp from the BJP to NCP, has also been summoned by the ED for questioning on December 30 in connection with a money laundering case.
Varsha Raut had skipped the two earlier summons on health grounds – this is the third time she has been called. The case involves an alleged loan fraud in the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank.
The Shiv Sena — which rules Maharashtra in alliance with the Congress and Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party — has said the matter is politically motivated and the central teams are targeting them unfairly.
The case dates back from October last year and investigations are on regarding alleged irregularities in certain loan accounts of the bank.
A major one is the loan given to financially stressed real estate player Housing Development & Infrastructure or HDIL.
Its promoters Rakesh Kumar Wadhawan and his son Sarang Wadhawan, its former chairman Waryam Singh and ex-managing director Joy Thomas are being investigated by the agency.