A day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) issued summons to his wife Varsha Raut in connection with the PMC Bank money laundering case, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut Monday said targeting women of a household was an “act of cowardice”.
“Targeting women of a household is an act of cowardice. We are not scared of anyone and will respond accordingly. ED needed some papers and we have submitted them in time,” Raut told reporters at a press conference.
“In the last one year, Sharad Pawar, Eknath Khadse and Pratap Sarnaik got notices and now you all are discussing my name. All these people are crucial for government formation in Maharashtra. These are pieces of paper, nothing else,” he further said.
Raut told reporters that BJP leaders had a list of 22 MLAs of the Congress and the NCP with them “who will be made to resign under the pressure of the Central investigating agencies”.
“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 pressuring and threatening me not to support the government,” he said.
Earlier today, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said whoever spoke against policies or leaders of the BJP were being pulled up by central agencies. Speaking to PTI, the senior NCP leader also said the use of ED for “political purposes” had never happened in Maharashtra.
“Anybody who speaks against policies or leaders of the BJP faces the ED or the CBI. As far as the Central Bureau of Investigation is concerned, we had taken a decision that any probe by that agency in Maharashtra cannot be pursued without the permission of the state government,” Deshmukh said.
Yuva Sena president and Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray termed the summons to Varsha Raut “politically motivated”. “The ED move is politically motivated. We are not scared. The MVA (Maha Vikas Aghadi) government is stable,” Aaditya told reporters.
Varsha Raut has been asked to appear before the federal agency in Mumbai on December 29. The ED is investigating alleged financial transactions between Varsha and Pravin Raut, who is under arrest in the case.
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.
The Sena’s chief spokesperson, Sanjay 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.
The ED had filed a PMLA case to probe the alleged loan fraud in the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank in October last year against the Housing Development Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL), its promoters Rakesh Kumar Wadhawan and his son Sarang Wadhawan, its former chairman Waryam Singh and ex-managing director Joy Thomas.