Former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya booked over INS Vikrant fund misuse charge

Updated on Apr 08, 2022 02:09 AM IST

Mumbai: Mumbai police have registered a case of cheating against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kirit Somaiya and his son Neil Somaiya for alleged misappropriation of around ₹57 crore from funds collected to save aircraft carrier INS Vikrant from scrapping, a police official said on Thursday

Responding to the allegations, Somaiya said he was ready to face any action if found guilty.(HT file photo)
Responding to the allegations, Somaiya said he was ready to face any action if found guilty.(HT file photo)

Mumbai police have registered a case of cheating against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kirit Somaiya and his son Neil Somaiya for alleged misappropriation of around 57 crore from funds collected to save aircraft carrier INS Vikrant from scrapping, a police official said on Thursday.

The case against them was filed under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating) and 34 (common intention) based on a complaint lodged by a 53-year-old former army officer on Wednesday evening at the Trombay police station, the official added, asking not to be named.

On Wednesday, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut accused Somaiya of diverting collected from people as donations to save INS Vikrant. The BJP leader denied the allegations.

Raut kept up his attack on Somaiya on Thursday saying the BJP leader laundered the funds through the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank.

Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, Raut said that the ‘Save Vikrant’ campaign was also launched in other states. “I have only spoken about Maharashtra where about 58 crore were collected. They have collected more than 200 crore. A chunk of the funds were laundered through PMC Bank, and some of it was also used in the business of Niel Kirit Somaiya,” Raut said.

“I am told that 711 boxes were used to collect the money. They were kept in his office at Neelam Nagar, Mulund. Some of them were opened and BJP workers were called to count. The money was diverted through PMC bank. Some boxes were taken to Kirit Somaiya’s friend, who is a developer in Juhu. It is a case of money laundering as well,” he added.

Responding to the allegations, Somaiya said he was ready to face any action if found guilty. “No scam has taken place; not even worth a rupee. I have not done anything wrong. I am not scared of any action. Raut has been levelling allegations but has not given any proof . I have not received a copy of the FIR filed in the case. I will keep exposing the Uddhav Thackeray government. I dare CM Uddhav Thackeray to give the information available with him (in this case), I am ready to face the investigation,” he told reporters.

Somaiya however, did not answer a query on whether he collected the money and submitted it to the governor or the government, and chose to leave a press briefing instead.

On Thursday, Shiv Sena workers also staged protests against Somaiya across Mumbai, Thane, Nashik, Aurangabad, Sangli and other districts. The party workers waived saffron flags and shouted slogans against Somaiya and the BJP.

Commissioned in 1961, INS Vikrant, a Majestic-class aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy, had played a key role in enforcing the naval blockade of East Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971. It was decommissioned in 1997. In January 2014, the ship was sold through an online auction and scrapped in November that year.

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