Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut’s wife has sought more time to appear before the Enforcement Directorate for questioning in the PMC bank fraud case. Varsha Raut had been summoned by the agency that investigates financial crimes on Sunday prompting a war of words between Maharashtra’s ruling Shiv Sena and ally-turned-adversary BJP which governs at the centre.
Mr Raut has had on Monday alleged that central agencies were being used to “destabilise” the Uddhav Thackeray-led government in Maharashtra and claimed he had been warned by BJP leaders about the plan for over a year.
Mr Raut said BJP leaders had a list of 22 MLAs of the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) with them “who will be made to resign under the pressure of the central investigating agencies”.
The Sharad Pawar-led NCP and the Congress are part of the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, which was formed in November 2019 after the Sena and the BJP fell out over sharing the post of chief minister following assembly elections.
“Some BJP leaders have been contacting me since the last one year, saying they have made all the arrangements to destabilise the Maharashtra government. They have been pressurising and threatening me not to support the government,” Mr Raut said.
The Enforcement Directorate or ED had summoned Varsha Raut for questioning in the PMC Bank money laundering case on December 29, officials had said on Sunday.
The officials had said that Varsha Raut has been asked to appear before the federal agency in Mumbai. This is the third summons issued to her after she skipped the earlier two on health grounds, they said.
“I will hold discussions with NCP president Sharad Pawar too,” Mr Raut said when asked if his wife will appear before the ED in response to the summons issued against her.
Mr Raut said he was a Shiv Sainik of Balasaheb Thackeray, and will “expose” BJP leaders.
“They will have to take flights out of the country like Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallaya,” he said.
Mr Raut claimed he had a list of “120 BJP leaders who are fit case for a probe by the ED for money laundering”.
Saying his wife is a teacher, Mr Raut said unlike leaders of the BJP, “our income has not grown by Rs 1,600 crore”.
“This politics is played out of frustration when you cannot fight your political opponents face to face. Shiv sena will respond to this in an equal measure,” Mr Raut said.