Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday alleged that central agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate and the Narcotics Control Bureau were being misused to target the Opposition, PTI reported.

He said that the Income Tax department on Wednesday conducted raids on entities linked to Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar for the sixth day, and said that this was very unusual.

Besides this, the Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate are investigating corruption and money laundering allegations against former state home minister Anil Deshmukh.

Pawar on Wednesday asked why leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party have tried to defend central agencies against various allegations, instead of the agencies defending themselves. “This is a serious matter,” he said.

The NCP chief alleged that the amount of drugs that the Narcotics Control Bureau has seized in the past few years has been very small. “In contrast, the Maharashtra Police’s anti-narcotics cells have seized much larger quantities of drugs,” he said.

Pawar also commented on the Narcotics Control Bureau’s recent raids on a cruise ship off the coast off Mumbai, after which the agency arrested actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan and seven others. He questioned why the agency made private investigator KP Gosavi a witness to the alleged seizure of drugs, when he himself was absconding.

Gosavi has been declared as an absconder in a 2018 cheating case, The Print has quoted a Pune Police official as saying.

Meanwhile, the NCP chief also thanked the people of Maharashtra, and said that the bandh called by the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi in the state against the Lakhimpur Kheri violence was successful.

“I have got some calls from colleagues in Uttar Pradesh,” Pawar said. “They expressed gratitude to the people of Maharashtra for having observed a bandh to protest the incident.

Pawar also demanded the resignation of Union Minister of State Ajay Kumar Mishra over the Lakhimpur violence, ANI reported.

“The ruling party should take a stand,” he said. “Neither the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath nor MoS Home Mishra can escape.”

During the bandh on Monday, shops remained shut in many cities of Maharashtra, and bus services in Mumbai were disrupted.

On October 3, eight people, including four farmers, were killed in violence during a protest against the Centre’s new agricultural laws in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri district.

Farmer bodies have alleged that a vehicle which was part of Union minister Ajay Mishra’s convoy ran over the protestors. They have claimed the vehicle belonged to Ashish Mishra, the minister’s son.