Updated: June 26, 2021 8:52:01 am
Even as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday raided the Mumbai and Nagpur residences of former state home minister Anil Deshmukh, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said this was a “new pattern of misusing central agencies to harass political opponents”.
“This is a new pattern of misusing central agencies to harass political leaders… Earlier, Anil Deshmukh’s family was harassed by central agencies… This is nothing new to us, central agencies have been used in the past too against our leaders. It is being done out of sheer frustration. We are not worried about this. Even people don’t take them seriously,” said Pawar in Pune on Friday.
His daughter and Baramati MP Supriya Sule said the country has never seen such blatant misuse of central agencies as was being done by the BJP-led central government.
“The BJP all the time accuses the Congress of committing excesses during the Emergency. What we are witnessing today has probably never been seen or heard. This is the first time I am witnessing this kind of misuse of central agencies against political opponents. This is the new SoP which the BJP has come up with, it seems to be the BJP’s style of operation,” Sule said in Pune on Friday, adding that the NCP will fight back.
Sule said Maharashtra has never experienced misuse of power to meet political ends. “Maharashtra has had a political culture… it does not involve harassing opponents for political gains,” she said.
The NCP leader said the country was facing one of its biggest challenges of tackling the Covid-19 pandemic but the BJP-led central government was busy in “vendetta politics”. “Instead of effectively tackling Covid-19 and focusing its attention on rising unemployment and healthcare issues, the central government is busy misusing central agencies and playing vendetta politics,” she said.
State NCP chief Jayant Patil said, “The raids are being conducted because they could not find anything during the investigation. Now, they are trying to dig up some 10-year-old cases to frame Deshmukh.”
Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut said, “We have been saying repeatedly that the government is misusing central agencies to harass its opponents unnecessarily. If there is any fit case, the ED and CBI should investigate, such as the Ayodhya land scandal. In fact, the BJP national executive should pass a resolution recommending CBI probe into the Ayodhya land issue.”
Slamming the ED raids, State Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said, “What is the ED is trying to search for while raiding the residence of Anil Deshmukh when no financial transaction has taken place? Both Param Bir Singh and Sachin Vaze never said money was given and therefore no financial transaction had taken place. Why are the central agencies not raiding Param Bir Singh? All the investigating agencies are being misused by the central government.”
BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar, meanwhile, claimed that after the arrest of former police officer Sachin Waze, several skeletons had come out of the closet. “No one should give this a political colour. Even during the Congress’ regime, its leader Suresh Kalmadi was raided by CBI and subsequently arrested. Did anyone accuse the Congress of misusing central agencies… the central agencies should be allowed to do their work… they have been conducting investigation only after facts emerged,” he said.
Pravin Darekar, opposition leader in the state Legislative Council, said, “These raids have nothing to do with the central government. They are part of the investigation. Such raids used to take place even during Congress regimes.”
Referring to protests by NCP workers in Nagpur, he said, “Holding protests is not an appropriate thing to do.”
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