Jolt to MVA: ED raids top Sena leader, detains son
Mumbai, November 24, 2020
In a rude jolt to the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi ahead of its first anniversary on November 28, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) with a huge posse of CRPF troopers raided the home and around nine other premises of senior Shiv Sena leader Pratap Sarnaik before detaining his son Vihang here on Tuesday.
The ED teams swooped on Sarnaik's house in Thane's Hiranandani Complex, when he was not present, besides certain other locations including a leading security services agency, and picked up Vihang Sarnaik.
After a four-hour operation, the ED team left the premises and went to the home of Vihang's businessman brother, Purvesh Sarnaik.
The raids -- in which incriminating evidence reportedly came up -- were being carried out simultaneously at the locations in Mumbai and Thane under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), official sources said.
Sarnaik, 56, is a three-time MLA from Ovala-Majiwada constituency in Thane, and is the Chairman of Vihang Group of Companies with interests in varied sectors.
The ruling Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for using Central agencies to pressurize the MVA government and demoralize its leaders
Sena Chief Spokesperson Sanjay Raut attacked the Centre for using raids as a political weapon against opponents.
"We all know that the ED and CBI are being misused They are puppets in the hands of the Centre. But we will not bow down before anybody," Raut declared.
He reiterated that the MVA government is stable and will complete its full remaining term of four years, "and we will rule for another 25 years".
Simultaneously, he warned that even the Shiv Sena has files about all the murky dealings of BJP leaders, pertaining to money-laundering, 'benami' properties and other scams.
Senior NCP leader and Food & Civil Supplies Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said that the BJP uses central agencies to harass those who are critical of it.
"First they targeted (NCP President) Sharad Pawar with a notice last year, and then many other Opposition party leaders in Rajasthan, Maharashtra or other states. This is sheer vendetta politics. But they will never succeed in their intentions," Bhujbal said.
Congress state President and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat targeted the BJP saying "all central agencies are being misused for political gains to build pressures".
"The BJP has been constantly targeting political opponents like this Have you ever heard about any raids on people linked with BJP," Thorat demanded.
Defending the raids, senior BJP leader and MP Narayan Rane said "Sarnaik is no saint" and the action was being taken as per the laws.
Sarnaik had sometime back criticised Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut and Republic TV Chief Editor Arnab Goswami.
He had demanded action against Ranaut when she equated Mumbai with "Pakistan Occupied Kashmir" and also the reopening of Anvay Naik and his mother's suicide case in which Goswami had been arrested earlier this month.