“In 56 years of public life, never saw an income tax raid going on for six days”
Geetanjali Minhas | October 14, 2021 | Mumbai
Hitting back at the central government in a strongly worded attack, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar has said Bhartiya Janata Party is misusing central investigative agencies for political benefits.
“Central agencies including ED, CBI and NCB are being used for political reasons by the central government,” NCP supremo said.
Speaking to media persons in Mumbai on Wednesday, he touched upon a wide range of issues since the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) came to power in Maharashtra and said searches are being conducted by central agencies repeatedly on the state’s ministers.
Referring to the income tax raids on entities linked to relatives of deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, he said these have been going on now for six days which is very “unusual”. He said in his 56 years in public life, he had never seen an income tax raid going on for six days.
“They were about to leave after one and a half day when the officials received a call to stay inside. A total of 18 officials are raiding a house of two people in Kolhapur for six days. Let them do it. This is not the time to answer anyone. We will answer when the right time comes.”
He also said former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh’s residence was raided for the fifth time the day before which is a “record”.
“Anil Deshmukh’s house was raided for the fifth time yesterday. I am surprised over the behaviour of the investigating agency that needs to raid the same place again and again. I wonder what they get by raiding the same place again and again. This is sort of a record,” Pawar said.
He also spoke on the missing former Mumbai police commissioner Parambir Singh and said in Anil Deshmukh’s case a former police commissioner (Parambir Singh) made allegations but he is nowhere to be seen and absconding. “He had met me to make the same allegations after which Deshmukh resigned. The one who made the allegations is nowhere to be seen and is now absconding.”
Pawar alleged that the centre after failing to destabilise the Maharashtra government for the last two years has now resorted to targeting family members and close associates of leaders of the MVA by conducting raids “with the hope that this will break our will. We are resolute and these things will not affect us,” he said.
Pawar also questioned the ongoing NCB investigation in the Mumbai cruise drugs case involving Bollywood actor Sharukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan and said the presence of KP Gosavi, a self-styled detective as a panch (witness) raises doubts on the NCB investigation.
Pawar said BJP is maligning Nawab Malik, a senior leader of his party and a state minister, for questioning the NCB’s links with private investigator, Gosavi, in the widely circulated selfie with Aryan and BJP office-bearer Manish Bhanushali. Malik had also tweeted a video of the two exiting a white car late on the night of October 3, when the raid took place and walking into its Mumbai office questioning why two outsiders were present during a raid by a central agency.
"Some person called Gosavi as panch here…the panch has to be of impeccable character. I have learnt that Gosavi is an absconder. The integrity and character are doubtful. If such a person was chosen by senior officials it shows their association. What is more surprising is that after the allegation was made, BJP leaders came for the defence of the agency. Former CM Devendra Fadnavis also came out in defence….he said he is proud of the action. The media management of NCB officials is good…” Pawar said.
He added that Mumbai Police's Anti-Narcotics Cell has done a better job than the NCB.
“There are two agencies; one for central government and another for the state government. We found out that the recovery of the central agency (seizures of drugs) is less than that of the state agency (ANC). It means to say that the state agency is working seriously… our relation with the administration remains good whether in power or in opposition,” said Pawar.
He also raised questions about NCB zonal director Sameer Wankhede and said he will talk about it after getting more information.
While speaking on the Lakhimpur Kheri incident in which eight people will killed, Pawar thanked the people of Maharashtra for supporting a peaceful bandh and said the union minister of state, his son who has been arrested and UP chief minister cannot evade their responsibility and the MoS must resign.
"Protestors have alleged the son of that the union MoS for Home's was present there. After the Supreme Court came into the picture the minister's son was arrested. It was the duty of those in power to take a stand on the issue. The stand taken by the UP chief minister was that of a bystander. He cannot shrug off his responsibility. He should immediately resign.”
Pawar also took a dig at former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis who on Tuesday had said that it was due to people’s love that he still feels like he is the chief minister of Maharashtra.
“It’s good that the BJP leader still considers himself as the chief minister. I congratulate him. After holding the post for five years, Fadnavis still feels he is holding the post. I lacked this quality. I had served as the chief minister of Maharashtra four times but I don’t even remember,” said Pawar.
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