A DAY after a notice to senior NCP leader Eknath Khadse, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Sunday issued summons to the wife of Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, Varsha, asking her to appear before it on December 29.
Varsha was summoned as part of the investigation into the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank scam case. The ED is investigating alleged financial transactions between Varsha and Pravin Raut, who is under arrest in the case.
Dismissing the allegations, Raut told The Indian Express: “I have been hearing that the ED has sent a notice to us, but I am yet to see a copy of it… They should show us on paper what they have found in their investigation.” He said he would clarify his stand on the issue in detail on Monday.Speaking to reporters in Sangli, Maharashtra NCP chief Jayant Patil said the ED was being used to target anyone who goes against the BJP. Khadse was in the BJP for 40 years before moving to the NCP in October.
Last month, the ED had sent a notice to Sena legislator and spokesperson Pratap Sarnaik and his family members, after searches at their residences and offices in connection with a money laundering case.
“If any political leader speaks against the BJP, the party ensures that the ED starts an investigation against him. Instead of letting it work in the interest of the nation, the ED is being misused by the BJP to target other leaders,” Patil said, adding that the summons didn’t scare them.
On Saturday, while asking parties to join hands to “take on the BJP and its dictatorial tendencies”, Raut had also accused the Centre of targeting the Opposition via central agencies — a charge he has been very vocal on, including in the probe into Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. “Shiv Sena leaders have also been given ED notices. All those whom the Central government can’t fight politically are being pressured through central agencies like the ED,” he said on Saturday.
The Sena’s chief spokesperson, Raut is believed to be one of the architects of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi coalition, including the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, which wrested power from the BJP in the state after the last Assembly elections.
Khadse is being probed on charges that as revenue minister in the Devendra Fadnavis government, he had purchased land belonging to the MIDC (Maharashtra Industrial Development Cooperation) in Pimpri-Chinchwad at gross undervaluation. A builder had alleged that the land, purchased in the name of Khadse’s wife and son-in-law, for Rs 3.75 crore was actually worth around Rs 30 crore. The ED notice was reportedly issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Khadse has said he will appear before the ED and cooperate in the probe. He has all along maintained that the land in question belonged to a private party and his family had purchased it following the due process of law. On Saturday, he said that the allegation had earlier been investigated by the Pune Anti-Corruption Bureau and the Nashik Anti-Corruption Bureau, and neither had found any substance in it. “This will be the fifth probe in the matter.”
With ENS, Pune
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