Centre using enforcement agencies as 'weapons', says Sanjay Raut after ED summons his wife Varsha

ED summoned Varsha Raut over PMC Bank money laundering case, reports said. Officials said that this is the third summon issued to her after she skipped previous two on health grounds

Press Trust of India December 28, 2020 16:18:47 IST
Centre using enforcement agencies as 'weapons', says Sanjay Raut after ED summons his wife Varsha

File image of Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut. PTI

Mumbai: Launching a veiled attack on the BJP-led Central government after the Enforcement Directorate summoned his wife, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Monday said central agencies were being used as "weapons" against family members of those political opponents who cannot be won over.

Raut told reporters that the ED action reflected "frustration" of the BJP against him, as he was instrumental in the formation of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government last year and didn't yield to the pressure to make it unstable.

Shiv Sena will respond in the equal measure, he said. "I have been doing regular correspondence with the Enforcement directorate (ED)for the last one and a half months regarding a Rs 50 lakh loan taken by my wife ten years ago from a friend to purchase a house," the Rajya Sabha MP said.

He said all the details regarding this loan had already been submitted to the ED during the correspondence.

The ED summoned Varsha Raut for questioning in the PMC Bank money laundering case on 29 December, officials had said on Sunday.

The officials had said that Varsha has been asked to appear before the federal agency in Mumbai. This is the third summons issued to her after she skipped the earlier two on health grounds, they said.

"When the ED itself did not mention that the correspondence was regarding the PMC Bank scam case and HDIL, then how can BJP leaders say so?" he asked.

Raut, the chief spokesperson of the Uddhav Thackeray-led party, said his wife is a teacher.

"We are middle-class people. My wife had taken a loan from a friend 10 years ago to purchase a house. Details have been given to the Income Tax (department) and also mentioned in my Raya Sabha affidavit. The ED woke up to this deal after ten years," he wondered.

Raut also suggested that some BJP leaders speaking against him since 27 December used to frequent the ED office (in south Mumbai) and "have taken away some papers from the office".

He declined to give any names.

"When you can't finish off your opponents politically, weapons such as the ED or CBI are being uses blatantly against their family members," Raut said.

The MP said he discussed the issue with the Sena president and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. "The ED is issuing summons...The BJP is targeting me in its frustration. The Shiv Sena will respond in the equal measure," he said.

Raut said the BJP had been pressurising him since the last one year "to not allow the MVA government to survive".

The Maha Vikas Aghadi government consists of the Sena, the NCP and Congress.

"I was told that 22 MLAs of the Congress and the NCP are on the radar of Central agencies who will be taken in and forced to resign. Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik (who is under the ED scanner in connection with a money laundering case registered against a firm) is just one such example.

"When nothing envisaged by the BJP happened till November, which was deadline set by the BJP for itself to topple the state government, children and wives of those who were associated with the formation of the MVA government are being targeted," he claimed.

He said there was no threat to the state government. "You send a notice or arrest us, the government will remain stable," he added.

Earlier in the day, Raut told reporters that he had not received any notice from the ED.

"I am searching for that notice since Sunday. BJP leaders are speaking about it. I have sent my person to the office of the BJP to look for the ED notice. I feel it might got stuck there (in the BJP's office). All this is politics," he said.

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