The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), based on whose complaint Chhagan Bhujbal was arrested on Monday, alleged the BJP had not wanted to arrest the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader. Countering the claim, the NCP said Bhujbal’s arrest was a case of vendetta politics and that the party would fight the matter out in court.
Stating that the Maharashtra former deputy chief minister was innocent of all charges and was in fact cooperating with the investigation, NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “What is going on is clearly a part of political vendetta being played by the BJP government. They are trying to prove the propaganda being spread by them in the run up to assembly and Lok Sabha polls. The NCP will face it as a challenge. The party will fight out the battle legally.”
“Since Bhujbal was cooperating with the interrogation, he should not have been arrested. The government should have thought twice before making arrest as it is going to spoil his career that took over 40 years to develop. Our party will decide next course of action after our leaders meet tomorrow (Tuesday) morning,” senior NCP leader Jayant Patil said.
Senior members met at NCP leader Dhananjay Munde’s residence on Monday evening to discuss the situation.
The AAP claimed the arrest was a victory for truth and said it would continue to fight and expose corruption by the Congress, BJP and “their cronies”.
“On August 26, 2013, the Aam Aadmi Party filed complaints with detailed proof that Bhujbal, in his tenure as PWD minister, awarded contracts to builders and then received kickbacks in the companies and trusts of his family. We gave detailed proof of transactions in nine different cases where kickbacks were received and the money was laundered,” said AAP’s spokesperson Preeti Sharma Menon.
She alleged that none of the state agencies acted on AAP’s complaint so it was forced to file a PIL in the Bombay high court. On December 18, 2014, chief justice Mohit Shah appointed an SIT comprising the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and Enforcement Directorate (ED). “Time and again the court reprimanded the BJP-controlled ACB to act but it continued in go-slow mode. Finally the ED acted on high court direction and first arrested Sameer Bhujbal and now Chhagan Bhujbal. Please note that they have been arrested under section 19 (1) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act – a money laundering charge, and not on Maharashtra Sadan complaint filed by BJP MP Kirit Somaiya,” said Menon.