Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kirit Somaiya was on Monday detained in Maharashtra’s Satara district while he was on his way to Kohlapur after he accused the state’s Rural Development Minister Hassan Mushrif of being involved in a Rs 127-crore money-laundering scam, ANI reported.
The authorities had barred him from entering the city because of security concerns as Mushrif is an MLA from the Kagal constituency in Kohlapur. Somaiya had planned to visit the properties owned by Mushrif, according to The Hindu.
Last Monday, Somaiya alleged that Mushrif and his family started firms which had transactions with shell companies, according to the newspaper. Musharif dismissed the accusations and said he would file a Rs 100-crore defamation case against Somaiya.
Meanwhile, before Somaiya’s visit to Kolhapur on Monday, Collector Rahul Rekhawar told him that there was a threat to his life and a possibility that his visit to the city could disturb the law and order situation, according to PTI.
Despite the warning, Somaiya boarded a train on Sunday night from Mumbai to Kohlapur, the news agency reported.
On Monday morning, ANI tweeted a video showing security officers escorting Somaiya out of the Karad Railway Station in Satara.
“Police stopped me at Karad under prohibitory order,” the BJP leader tweeted. He was taken to the Circuit House in Karad after that.
Somaiya said that he would hold a press conference at the venue to expose “one more scam” by the minister.
“After we told him that he was prohibited from entering the district, he cooperated and will now return after addressing a press conference in Karad,” Kolhapur Superintendent of Police Shailesh Balkawde said, according to PTI.
Chandrakant Patil, the chief of the BJP’s Maharashtra unit, described the action against Somaiya as dictatorial. He accused Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s government of trying to silence a politician who wants to expose corruption.
“While terrorists roam freely under the MVA [Maha Vikas Aghadi]-led government, around 150 policemen surround the house of Somaiya,” Patil claimed, according to PTI.
He said Mushrif should not “resort to such strong-arm methods” but rather face the Enforcement Directorate, reported The Hindu.
However, Patil said he believed that Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar would never support such activities by his party member. “I suspect Mr Mushrif’s discomfiture rose from the fact that Mr Pawar washed off his hands off in this case when the minister met his party chief,” Patil claimed. “Hence, he is now panicking.”