In an embarrassment to the ruling Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance, former Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam on Thursday linked Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and wife Rashmi’s newly-constructed residential property in Mumbai’s Bandra to an alleged multi-crore bank fraud case involving Gujarat-based Sterling Biotech Limited and the Sandesara brothers.
Nirupam, who has been sidelined by the Congress after having opposed the party’s post-poll coalition with Shiv Sena, demanded that ED sleuths probe Uddhav’s property deal.
Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant downplayed the matter. “When Sanjay Nirupam is not being taken seriously by his own party, why should we take him seriously? His statements are of non-cognisable. Also, he shouldn’t forget that it was the Shiv Sena that first made him an MP from where he got political recognition. Haathi apni chal chalega. Usko bhokne do.” he said.
In October 2016, Uddhav and his wife had acquired rights of a 5,200 square feet property across their current residential address, Matoshree, in Bandra East.
Nirupam raised the matter on Twitter, writing, “If @ dir. Ed queries are exhausted in Delhi in the Sterling Biotech money laundering probe, they should turn their attention to Mumbai. They may get some answers if the huge property deal between (Sterling Biotech’s) director Rajbhushan Dixit and the Chief Minister of Maharashtra…”
The ED had earlier arrested and chargesheeted Dixit in the money laundering probe where the firm and absconding Sandesara brothers have been accused of allegedly cheating a consortium of banks.
Alleging that the prime property was worth much more than the declared value, Nirupam claimed Dixit “received just Rs 5.8 crore from the CM and his family for 10,000 square feet deal.”
Sources said that Shiv Sena has raised the matter with the Congress leadership. An AICC office-bearer equated Nirupam’s allegations against Uddhav as a “desperate bid to stay relevant in politics”.
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