BJP’s laundromat may be washed clean by MVA

BJP is a laundry for washing off all the muck of corruption on the clothes of those who join its ranks. But Uddhav Thackeray looks in no mood to facilitate this dhobi ghat

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray

Navin Kumar/Mumbai

It is clearly tit-for-tat in Maharashtra.

The Maha Vikas Aghadi governmentled by Uddhav Thackeray is now scrutinising files pertaining to scams by tainted ministers in the previous Devendra Fadnavis government in the state. These ministers will be brought under the scanner and put behind bars if need be.

Thackeray has made it clear that his governmentwill also probe alleged corruption in projects undertaken directlyunder Fadnavis as the chief minister. The costs of these projects had escalated beyond budgeted provisions and the MVA is determined to get to the bottom of the frauds.

Clearly, Thackeray has lost patience with the BJP which,for two years, with the help of central agencies has been continuously attempting to destabilise the Maha Vikas Aghadi government with little success.

Thackeray, like his father, has always had a way with words though he is far more understated than Balasaheb Thackeray. On the last day of the budget session of the Maharashtra Assembly, Uddhav Thackeray threw the gauntlet down to the BJP stating that they could put him behind bars if they wished but he will burst forth from prison like Lord Krishna to eliminate Kansa (BJP).

Uddhav Thackeray was always a man of few words and as chief minister he is sanguine, focussed and untroubled. His party has a 25-year-old relationship with the BJP but Thackeray feels betrayed by this old friend and that is primarily why he broke the saffron mould to form a government along with the Congress and the NCP.

It is no secret that the ruling party at the Centre is using central agencies to destabilise the MVA having already sent two ministers Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik to jail. But now the Enforcement Directorate is targeting the close kin of the Thackeray family and the chief minister has indicated that similar treatment will be meted out to the kin of the BJP who also stand tainted.

BJP leaders, including Fadnavis, have also brought much disrepute to these central agencies who are relying on documents provided by Fadnavis, Kirit Somaiya and others. Many of these documents are proving to be flawed and the agencies clearly are doing no independent investigation.

However, the Thackeray government for its part seems to be putting together a portfolio of unimpeachable proportions against the BJP leaders which might be difficult to challenge. Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut who has accused Fadnavis of a Rs.25,000 crore scam has already sent some documents to the prime minister which Narendra Modi might find difficult to ignore given his carefully built reputation as an honest politician. What are the cases against Fadnavis? The first pertains to his ambitious watershed scheme, theJalyukta Shivar Yojana, which is being investigated for corruption. There were financial and administrative irregularities in 71 per cent of the works completed under the scheme. The second is that of phone tapping in which case has been registered against Fadnavis under the OfficialSecrets Act and the Cyber Unit of Mumbai Police has gone to Fadnavis’ official bungalow and recorded his statement.

The police are probing how the data of the intelligence department came out. The statement of then IPS officer Rashmi Shukla has also been recorded in the phone tapping case. She is accused of illegally tapping the phones of politicians.

Kirit Somaiya, Pravin Darekar, Mohit Kamboj and Narayan Rane are among his associates whose help Fadnavis is taking to harass the Maha Vikas Aghadi government. But along with Fadnavis, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government has one eye on these leaders as well.

Raut has exposed Kirit and his son Neil Somaiya’s relationship with Rakesh Wadhawan, an accused in the PMC Bank scam. Mohit Kamboj was described by Nawab Malik as the mastermind of Aryan Khan’s kidnapping and ransom case. Union Minister Narayan Rane and his son Nitesh Rane were interrogated for nine hours by the Malvani Police regarding the statement given in the Disha Salian death case.

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has sent a notice regarding illegal works in Mohit’s flats in Santacruz. Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council Pravin Darekar is caught in a case of impersonating a fake labourer. According to the case registered at MRA Marg police station, Darekar contested elections in Mumbai Bank as a fake labourer and held the post of director and president for many years and there was a scam of crores of rupees.

When Darekar was in MNS, the BJP had accused him of a scam of Rs.200 crore in Mumbai Bank. But when the BJP made him the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council in 2016, the BJP completely ignored this scam. Kirit Somaiya in 2017 had handed over the raw balance sheet of seven companies allegedly owned by Narayan Rane to the ED, on which investigation was also started. But as soon as he joined BJP in 2019, both Kirit and ED forgot that matter.

Somaiya had accused former Minister of State for Home Affairs and North Indian leader Kripashankar Singh of corruption by misusing his position. Singh was also booked for illegally amassing assets worth over Rs.300 crore. But he was acquitted of all charges in 2016 during the regime of Fadnavis. After this Singh joined the BJP.

Clearly, the BJP is a laundry for washing off all your dirt and mucky clothes. But the Maha Vikas Aghadi government is in no mood to facilitate this dhobi ghat. Watch this space for more.

(This was first published in National Herald on Sunday)

(Views are personal)

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Published: 05 Apr 2022, 6:00 PM