Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut explains why the state government was against handing over the Sushant Singh Rajput case to CBI and says the Opposition is targeting Aaditya Thackeray with false allegations. Excerpts from an interview with Manoj More
Do you think Supreme Court handing over the case to CBI is a huge embarrassment for MVA government?
No, I don’t think so. Too much noise was being made over the death of a celebrity… Supreme Court has nowhere in its order questioned the honesty of Mumbai police, which makes it clear Mumbai police were on the right track. Some parties wanted to gain publicity from the issue. Bihar government too joined the issue.
Why was MVA government refusing to hand over the case to CBI?
MVA government has full confidence in the ability of Maharashtra and Mumbai police, who were probing the case rigorously and with all sincerity and purpose. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray never interferes in law and order issues, he backs his police force… If the government had handed over the probe to CBI when Mumbai police had not even completed the inquiry, it would have been an insult to Maharashtra police.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar rightly said that when 100 farmers commit suicide, it is a non-issue for those who are now shouting hoarse. Why no demand is made for a CBI probe in such cases? Some people want to keep themselves busy by playing politics and indulging in mud-slinging.
Now that CBI has been handed over the case, Maharashtra police, I am sure, will extend all cooperation and help.
Why do you think BJP pressed for a CBI probe?
BJP obviously was playing politics with an eye on Bihar elections. When Devendra Fadnavis was chief minister, his government had shown full confidence in Mumbai police. The opposition, BJP, is so strong it could have easily raised the din in the Assembly session by presenting concrete proof… But it believed in resorting to shooting in the air and defaming the police and leaders… Today, we are in power, tomorrow we might not be. BJP should learn to play an effective role as an opposition party in the interest of people and not indulge in petty politics to remain in limelight.
Supreme Court said Mumbai police took too much time in conducting the inquiry…
But Supreme Court has not expressed any doubt in the inquiry conducted by Mumbai police. Mumbai police were conducting the inquiry meticulously and considering all angles. No doubt, there was some delay. But it was because the police did not want to leave any loose ends. Also, Mumbai police have a good record. It has always been held in high esteem.
Do you think Mumbai police should have registered FIR in the first place?
Against whom should it have registered FIR? FIR is registered against accused only when there is concrete proof. Our Constitution says ‘let 100 accused go scot-free, but an innocent should not be held guilty’. Mumbai police would have registered FIR only after completing the inquiry and if it had proof of involvement of certain people.
It seemed Mumbai police did not communicate properly about its inquiry which created doubts in the minds of people…
Every TV channel was behaving like a court, conducting their own investigation, declaring some individuals guilty…’ Even if Mumbai police had kept communicating, some people would have drawn their own conclusions and given their own judgment.
Do you think you made the wrong statement regarding Sushant Singh Rajput’s father?
I think the timing was wrong… I should not have made the statement.
Is the government trying to protect some big actors as is being alleged?
The MVA government will never protect wrongdoers whoever he may be. And it is not the government which probes a case. It is the police who do it. The government wants a fair probe and will extend full cooperation to CBI like it did to Mumbai police.
How did Aaditya Thackeray’s name surface in the controversy?
Nobody is taking his (Aaditya’s) name. It is the Opposition which is indulging in mud-slinging and defaming the young leader by making false allegations indirectly. This happened with Raj Thackeray also in the Kini case. Ultimately, nothing came out. The Opposition wants to keep itself alive by targeting the young leader and trying to finish off his political career. A political leader who was with Congress and now with BJP is indulging in petty politics.
Why is Aaditya not coming forward and clearing the air?
Aaditya Thackeray had issued a statement in this regard to the entire media… He will come before the media at the appropriate time.
NCP and Congress do not seem to be backing the government to the hilt even as the chief minister has drawn fire?
That’s not true. We all three are together and united. The government is running smoothly and the chief minister is leading from the front.
Is Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray under pressure because of the Covid situation?
Not at all. As I said he is right upfront and putting in his might to tackle the pandemic.
The Dharavi model has caught the world’s attention. Positive cases in Mumbai have come down. He is regularly in touch with district collectors, municipal commissioners and other top officials. He is fully aware what is happening on the ground.
What do you make of Parth Pawar’s statements on CBI and Ram temple? Did you discuss the issue with Sharad Pawar?
I have not discussed the issue with Pawar saheb and I will not. Parth is a young leader who expressed his view. It is an internal matter of NCP, not of Shiv Sena.
BJP repeatedly claims MVA government will soon fall. Even Union minister Ramdas Athawale said after Ganpati festival, government will be immersed…
The government is on a firm footing. It is stable and working full hog for the people of Maharashtra. No matter what BJP says, the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government will complete its full five-year term. The Opposition should make suggestions which will help the government in taking up public issues rather than everyday wasting their time in imagining about government’s fall.
Do Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi communicate with the CM?
There is regular communication with the two leaders. They keep discussing various issues and make suggestions.
The state government is determined not to hold final-year exams?
Why can’t UGC come up with one national policy for the entire country regarding final-year exams. We will implement it in the state. But let it first act…
After joining hands with Congress and NCP, is Shiv Sena increasingly becoming secular?
We are a hardcore Hindutvawadi party. But our Hindutva credentials are for the good of people. We rely on it to work for the welfare and upliftment of people.