Updated: May 26, 2022 12:16:47 pm
Maharashtra Transport Minister and senior Shiv Sena leader Anil Parab was Thursday raided by the Enforcement Directorate as part of its money laundering probe. The federal agency is searching multiple locations in Dapoli, Mumbai, and Pune after filing a fresh case under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). He has been questioned by the ED in the past.
A look at who Parab is and why he was raided.
Who is Anil Parab?
Anil Parab, 56, is a three-time Shiv Sena legislator in the Maharashtra Legislative Council, the Upper House of the state legislature. He was inducted into the state cabinet by Chief Minister and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in December 2019.
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Parab, an advocate by profession, is known for his loyalty to the Thackerays. Apart from his aggressive political style, he handles the legal issues of the party and plays a crucial role in the civic elections.
He has been the Vibhag Pramukh (divisional head) since 2001 and is the only leader to be entrusted with two divisions, his area of operation spanning the entire region from Bandra to Andheri, a huge stretch of the western suburbs.
What are the charges against Parab?
In September 2021, Anil Parab appeared before the ED in connection with a bribery and money laundering case linked to former home minister Anil Deshmukh. His name had also cropped up when dismissed Mumbai police officer Sachin Waze had alleged that Parab received crores of rupees as a bribe for transfers of 10 police officers.
The Maharashtra minister has been under the scanner after Waze, in a letter he tried to submit to the NIA court, had claimed that Parab had asked him to carry out extortion to the tune of Rs 50 crore from a private trust.
He also alleged that Parab told him to look into the inquiry against the fraudulent contractors listed in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and asked him to collect “at least Rs 2 crore” from about 50 such contractors. Parab has denied all the allegations.
A suspended motor vehicle inspector of the Nashik Regional Transport Office (RTO) Gajendra Patil had also accused Parab and six officers of corruption, amounting to multiple crores, in connection with transfers and postings in the RTO.
Why is Parab so important for the Shiv Sena?
Parab gained prominence in 2017 after the Shiv Sena and the BJP broke their alliance and fought the Mumbai civic elections separately. During the elections, Parab countered all the attacks by the BJP, including its attempt to corner the Shiv Sena over the allegations of corruption in the BMC.
Within months, Parab was named as the party’s group leader in the legislative council by sidelining senior party leaders.
Over the years, Parab’s closeness with Matoshree increased, and he gained the confidence of Uddhav Thackeray by playing important roles in the party. He also played a key role in the party’s election strategies for the Lok Sabha and the state assembly polls in 2019.
In December 2019, Thackeray sidelined senior leaders and offered the ministerial berth to Parab. Since then, he has emerged as the troubleshooter for the party and has been attacking the BJP over several issues.
The party leadership consults Parab on all important matters, such as issues of housing, legal, BMC, governance, and anything else which is of significance to the party.
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