Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Tuesday accused the ruling BJP at the centre of using investigating agencies to try and topple the Maharashtra government and target its leaders and their families, including Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
With a large crowd of Shiv Sena workers glued to giant screens put up especially for an hour-long media briefing at the Shiv Sena headquarters in Mumbai’s Dadar, Mr Raut claimed he dialled Union Home Minister Amit Shah after raids on people linked to him.
“The day I was targeted and my close ones raided, I called up Amit Shah that night. I told him that I respect you…you are a big leader and home minister of the country, but whatever is happening is not right. If you have any animosity with me then target me, torture me, why are they (central agencies) targeting my friends and relatives,” he said.
He claimed the Enforcement Directorate or ED, which investigates financial crimes, was interrogating people who were involved in his daughter’s wedding – including the florist, decorator, the beautician and even his tailor.
However, Mr Raut asserted, that neither he nor any member of Maharashtra’s ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance of the Shiv Sena, Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress will give in to such tactics.
The Sena MP claimed he was contacted last month by “some BJP leaders” who asked him to switch sides and warned he would have to pay a price for not doing so.
“Around 20 days back, some senior people of the BJP met me and asked me to shift allegiance. We want to topple this government anyhow. We will either get President’s Rule imposed or we will break a group of MLAs and form the government,” Mr Raut claimed, adding that he declined to do so.
He also claimed he was told central agencies will “fix” him if he did not budge.
Mr Raut alleged the BJP leaders referred to the raids involving people close to Sharad Pawar’s relatives.
Soon after this, Enforcement Directorate started targeting people close to him in a “very bad manner”, Mr Raut added.
“Central agencies are being used to topple the Uddhav Thackeray-led government, but if you think we will budge, that is not possible. We have learnt this from late Balasaheb Thackeray,” he claimed.
These agencies are targeting family members of the MVA leaders to defame them, Mr Raut claimed.
Mr Raut also reserved a part of his briefing – and a few unprintable expletives – to target BJP leader and former MP Kirit Somaiya, who has been attacking the MVA government, particularly the Shiv Sena and the NCP leaders.
Mr Somaiya had also levelled charges of Benami property against the Thackerays. One of them was about Benami property in Alibaug.
Mr Raut dared Mr Somaiya to prove the charges and said an outing could be arranged to the Benami properties in Alibaug to check the facts.
Attacking Mr Somaiya using coarse language, Mr Raut alleged that Neil Somaiya, son of Kirit Somaiya, had links Rakesh Wadhwan, an accused in the PMC bank fraud.
Mr Raut said he will submit all the papers in this connection to Chief Minister Thackeray for appropriate action.
Mr Raut also demanded the arrest of Somaiya father-son in the PMC case.
Responding to the charge, Kirit Somaiya said, “In 2017 Raut, and Saamana (Marathi daily and Sena mouthpiece) had tried to defame his wife Medha Somaiya in a similar manner by naming a building construction company. Now he has named my son Neil Somaiya. The MVA government leaders have so far filed 10 cases against me and three more are on the way,” he said.
Referring to Mr Raut’s allegations, BJP leader and former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said he would “respond at an appropriate time”.