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Sunday, Sep 15, 2019

Uddhav Thackeray backs Raj Thackeray, says ‘Nothing will come out of ED probe’

The Sena chief’s support came as a surprise to many within political circles, given the two campaigned bitterly against each other during the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year.

mumbai Updated: Aug 22, 2019 06:33 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Raj’s MNS, which did not contest the general elections, campaigned for the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) combine, against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Sena alliance.
Raj’s MNS, which did not contest the general elections, campaigned for the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) combine, against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Sena alliance.(HT FILE)
         

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray received support from unexpected quarters — his cousin and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray — a day before he faces the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the IL&FS money-laundering case.

“I do not think anything will come out from the ED inquiry. We will wait for a day or two and see,” Uddhav told reporters at his residence in Bandra.

The Sena chief’s support came as a surprise to many within political circles, given the two campaigned bitterly against each other during the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year. Raj’s MNS, which did not contest the general elections, campaigned for the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) combine, against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Sena alliance.

Senior Sena leader and former Maharashtra CM Manohar Joshi’s son Unmesh Joshi, the primary founder of Kohinoor CTNL, was questioned by the ED on Monday. Raj, along with Joshi, was one of the founding partners of Kohinoor CTNL, which received investments worth ₹860 crore from IL&FS. Raj was one of the partners in a consortium that purchased Kohinoor Mill in central Mumbai in 2005. Kohinoor CTNL is accused of defaulting on the loan. The ED had issued a summons to Raj on August 16, asking him to report on August 22 at its Ballard Pier office. Raj exited the company in 2008.

Several MNS party workers had expressed hope that the Sena chief would back his cousin Raj as the MNS chief has always maintained a personal rapport with the family, despite walking out of the Sena to form his own party in 2005.

In 2005, Joshi, along with IL&FS and the Raj -owned Matoshree Construction, jointly bid for the National Textile Corporation’s Kohinoor Mill, buying the 4.8-acre property for ₹421 crore. Raj had subsequently exited the consortium in 2008. In September 2018, IL&FS went bust and several of its executives were arrested. The ED was probing suspected money laundering of IL&FS funds, during which Thackeray’s name cropped up.

The MNS said the ED summons to Raj were a result of political vendetta and had threatened a show of strength outside the ED office before Raj advised his party men against it. The Mumbai Police, however, are not taking any chances and have stationed personnel outside ED’s Ballard estate office and increased vigil.

First Published: Aug 22, 2019 00:19 IST