Updated: August 21, 2021 10:28:53 am
Somaiya had gone to Risod to visit the Shri Balaji Sahkari Particle Board Limited, a unit run by Yavatmal-Washim Shiv Sena MP Bhavana Gawali, in connection with several allegations of misappropriation of funds.
Washim Superintendent of Police Vasant Pardeshi told The Indian Express, “A local BJP leader, Raju Patil Raje, put his vehicle before Somaiya’s entourage, making the vehicles stop. Some BJP workers were also accompanying Raje. They started raising slogans hailing BJP and Somaiya. This gave a chance to Shiv Sena workers to create trouble. Some of them threw an ink ball at Somaiya’s car while some others threw stones. The ink ball hit Somaiya’s car but the stones fell away from it. We have booked 32 persons, including Raje and three BJP workers. Had Raje not caused the entourage to stop, the trouble could have been avoided.”
“All the 28 others booked belong to Shiv Sena and were led by Mahadev Thakre, Risod taluka president of Shiv Sena,” Pardeshi added.
Thakre was in the news recently in connection with an audio that had gone viral, in which he was allegedly heard summoning a contractor working on the national highway stretch passing through Washim for some discussion. Union Minister for Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari had written to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray last month, complaining about Washim Shiv Sena workers stalling the progress of highway works and repairs over some “illegal demands”.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Somaiya said, “Bhavana Gawali was involved in a Rs 100 crore scam in the Particle Board unit. She has swindled (khalle) this amount of money taken from some banks for the said project. Her company, called Balaji Agro, purchased this company worth Rs 25 crore for just Rs 25 lakh and the banks have declared her as a wilful defaulter. She filed an FIR about an alleged theft of Rs 7 crore from her office in May 2019 after a gap of 10 months. She has said in the FIR that the theft took place at 5 am on the day when she was in office but the day was Sunday. The questions that arise are what was she doing in the office at that hour, why did she register the FIR after so many months and where did she source such a huge sum from”.
The BJP leader said the police had erred in registering the FIR without asking Gawali anything about where she got the money from.
Somaiya further claimed that the Income Tax department has already imposed a penalty on Gawali against this “benami” cash and he has also filed a complaint against her. “There will be some action against her next week,” Somaiya said.
Bhavana Gawali did not respond to calls and text messages.
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