A week after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament Kirit Somaiya alleged that a ‘saheb’ in Bandra was orchestrating scams in the BMC, the Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamna published a report, alleging Somaiya’s involvement in irregularities in a slum redevelopment project.
The Saamna report on Sunday had alleged that a company owned by Somaiya’s wife was redeveloping a slum in Santacruz and had committed various irregularities. On Monday, Somaiya threatened to send legal notices to Saamna and an activist who has been quoting making the allegations.
While the two allies have squabbled, it is the first time the Sena has charged a BJP leader of irregularities. Somaiya’s allegations against the ‘Saheb’ too, were a first for the two parties.
According to insiders in the Sena, Somaiya’s allegations were testing the Sena’s patience. Somaiya has, for the past few months, been alleging that the Sena, as the ruling party in the BMC, has been indulging in corruption in projects such as the Rs5,000-crore Deonar dumpyard contract.
The last straw was when Somaiya alleged that there was immense corruption in the BMC, referring to a ‘saheb’. Somaiya didn’t name anyone but there were enough indications to show that the attack was against Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.
“If he can fall to such depths and attack people without any proof, he must be ready to face fire. There are enough and more issues that we can target him for and this is just the beginning,” said a senior Sena leader.
Sanjay Raut, executive editor of Saamna, said there was nothing political in the report. “He must understand that we did not carry out investigations. The allegations were made in a press conference and we have simply reported them. Other newspapers have reported them too, so, why single out Saamna?”