Shiv Sena says it will “expose BJP’s dirty dozen”

Published on Feb 26, 2022 11:47 PM IST

In the past, the MVA’s attempts to target the centre or the BJP have failed as it was slow in reacting to occasions, which have played to the advantage of their opponents

An editorial in Saamana said that it would not rest without putting out alleged scams of former Maharashtra ministers Chandrakant Patil, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Girish Mahajan. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT PHOTO)
An editorial in Saamana said that it would not rest without putting out alleged scams of former Maharashtra ministers Chandrakant Patil, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Girish Mahajan. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT PHOTO)

Mumbai: The Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) could be readying to go after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders allegedly involved in financial wrongdoing. Party insiders said that they are formulating a counterattack that would legally book the BJP leaders.

A few days after alleging the role of Neil and Kirit Somaiya in the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) bank scam, Sena leader Sanjay Raut had submitted evidence and documents to the Economic Offence Wing of Mumbai Police. The MVA is also looking into the details of the alleged scam in the Maharashtra Information Technology Corporation (MahaIT) to expose the role of the erstwhile BJP government in Maharashtra.

In the past, the MVA’s attempts to target the centre or the BJP have failed as it was slow in reacting to occasions, which have played to the advantage of their opponents. For instance, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar in January 2020 was keen to set up a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the violence at Bhima Koregaon in January 2018. Within days, the union home ministry transferred the investigation to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

A couple of other instances where the state government failed to take on the Centre were the cases against former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh and the Television Rating Points rigging case involving Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami. While the state filed five FIRs against Singh, the former top cop approached the Supreme Court, which subsequently asked the Maharashtra government to halt the probe.

A Sena minister said that they are moving forward to build cases in a careful manner against those involved in financial wrongdoings. MVA insiders said that they are working on the PMC Bank scam and MahaIT scam’s link to BJP leaders. “Right now, on the outside, it may seem that we aren’t doing anything, but we have started preparing groundwork on the documents and evidence we have about some cases involving them (BJP leaders). We do not want to go ahead in a rush and miss out on any legal loophole, which they might use,” said the minister, who did not wish to be named.

Hinting at action against BJP members, the Sena mouthpiece on Saturday threatened to expose the ‘dirty dozen’ in the BJP. An editorial in Saamana said that it would not rest without putting out alleged scams of former Maharashtra ministers Chandrakant Patil, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Girish Mahajan; adding that a financial scam for smart city project in Pune involved BJP legislator Prasad Lad and Pune Mayor Murlidhar Mohol. It also listed out Kirit Somaiya, Neil Somaiya and Amol Kale and Vijay Dhawangale, who are allegedly involved in the 25,000 crore MahaIT scam.

“Kirit Somaiya, Neil Somaiya, Prasad Lad, Pune’s [mayor Murlidhar] Mohol, Girish Mahajan, [Sudhir] Mungantiwar’s tree [plantation] scam, the Maha portal IT scam of Amol Kale and Vijay Dhawangale, and we will also know where the projects undertaken by Chandrakant Patil when he was the public works department (PWD) and revenue minister, would fall in the ‘dirty dozen’. Now that it has started, we will not sit quietly until we expose your dirty dozen,” the editorial said.

Targeting Neil and Kirit Somaiya, the Sena mouthpiece asked if Neil was not involved in any financial wrongdoings, why did he apply for anticipatory bail. “The father-son duo of Kirit and Neil Somaiya will be in jail in the future over the scam they were a part of with the help of Rakesh Wadhawan. The BJP leaders keep saying that one shouldn’t be scared if they have not done anything, if that is correct then why has Neil Kirit Somaiya gone to sessions court seeking anticipatory bail?” it asked.

Declining to comment on the allegations against him and his son, Kirit Somaiya said, “Unless and until there are documents in the public domain, I would not respond.”

The editorial also alleged corruption in the smart cities project in the Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporations. A day after the Income Tax Department raids on BMC standing committee chairman and Shiv Sena corporator Yashwant Jadhav, the Sena mouthpiece said, “The standing committee chairman of Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation Nitin Landge was arrested for accepting bribe worth lakhs and had spent a week in jail. Since then, he is back on the post and carrying on with the corrupt practices. Why aren’t BJP leaders speaking about it?”

It further said, “Those who are claiming to have started a war against corruption must be reminded that Pune mayor [Murlidhar] Mohol’s story about corruption in the smart city project is shocking. The BJP is a beneficiary in the looting of public money in the smart city project scams in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. Nagpur civic body is not far behind.”

Maharashtra BJP chief and former minister Chandrakant Patil said, “I have said this in the past as well. They (MVA) are free to expose whatever wrongdoing we may have committed. If we had actually indulged [in any] wrongdoing, why did they wait for 27 months [since the government formed]. Let them probe whichever department they intend to.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Swapnil Rawal is Principal Correspondent with the Hindustan Times. He covers urban development and infrastructure. He had long stints with leading national dailies and has experience of over a decade in journalism.

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