MLA Pratap Sarnaik’s properties raided: Sena, Cong, NCP term it vendetta; BJP says not ED action not politically motivated
Terming the searches carried out by Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the properties of Shiv Sena legislator Pratap Sarnaik and detention of his son, Vihang, “political vendetta”, the party said Maharashtra legislators will not surrender to such pressure.
The Sena’s allies – the Nationalist Congress Party and Congress –said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was now using Central agencies to disrupt the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government. However, leader of the opposition and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis dismissed any politically motivated action.
Speaking to reporters in Mumbai, Sena chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut said the move was politically motivated. He dared the BJP to come out in the open to fight the Shiv Sena and “not hide behind Central agencies”.
“If anybody thinks this government will come under pressure with the use of central agencies, they are living in a fool’s paradise. No matter what they use, be it the ED or CBI, our leaders and legislators will not surrender. Not just the next four years, but this government will last for the next 25 years. No matter how many notices you send, how many raids you conduct or false papers and evidence you create, the truth will prevail,” Raut said.
He added, “The BJP should come out in the open and fight us and not use Central powers and agencies like ED and CBI as tools. The ED or any other agency should not work as a branch of a political party.”
NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who got served a notice by ED in October 2019, called the use of agencies against political opponents inappropriate. He said the MVA government has the backing of the people and the BJP was using the ED to dislodge the government. “The MVA government has completed one year in power. The BJP has realised now that they cannot dislodge the government and hence they have been using the power they have as the ruling party at the national level. Instead of answering the questions raised by people, Central agencies are being used against political opponents, which is not appropriate,” he said.
Maharashtra Congress chief and revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat echoed his allies’ thoughts. “No such action has been taken against any leader in BJP-led states. Leaders who have been taking a stand against the BJP are facing such actions. The ED action against Sarnaik is unfortunate and objectionable and taken to suppress the voice against the BJP,” he said.
Fadnavis, who was in Solapur, said, “The ED does not initiate any action unless it has solid evidence. I am not aware of the details about the action by the ED. However, I can say that nobody should be scared of any such action if nothing wrong has been done.”
Sarnaik later emerged at Sena mouthpiece Saamana office in Parel for the first time since the ED action began on Tuesday morning. He held an hour-long meeting with Raut at the office. Sarnaik refused to comment on the ED raid or the exact case in which his son Vihang was detained.
Sarnaik is also said to have held a meeting with his lawyers on the case. “Let me find out what has happened. So far, we do not have any details,” he said.
When the media persons outside Saamana asked his whereabouts since morning, he said, “I will speak later on all issues.”