Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Tuesday alleged that he had been threatened with jail time on money laundering charges for refusing to help “certain people” topple the Maharashtra government. The Uddhav Thackeray-led government is an alliance of Shiv Sena, Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party.
In a letter to Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Raut alleged that these people wanted to force the state into mid-term elections. Raut alleged that when he declined to help, he was warned that he would have to pay a “heavy price”.
“I was even warned that apart from me, two other senior ministers in the Cabinet of the state of Maharashtra as well as two senior leaders in Maharashtra would also be sent behind the bars under the PMLA [Prevention of Money Laundering Act] which would lead to mid-term elections in the state,” Raut wrote in the letter.
Raut also alleged that central agencies have been threatening, harassing and even arresting Shiv Sena leaders under alleged money laundering charges.
“ED and other central agencies are being used with oblique motive of toppling democratically elected government, which is certainly not a healthy sign for any country where democracy prevails,” he wrote.
The Shiv Sena leader also narrated several other incidents, which he claimed were attempts to harass him, his family members and acquaintances. Raut alleged that the central agencies had harassed people from whom he bought plots of land, to give false statements that the agreements involved disproportionate cash transactions.
“Day after day, ED and other agencies personnel call these people and threaten them with jail and attachment of their personal properties unless they give their statements against me,” he alleged.
The Shiv Sena leader also alleged Enforcement Directorate and other central agencies have been “summoning, intimidating and threatening” decorators and other vendors hired for his daughter’s wedding. Raut alleged the agencies have been trying to get a statement that these vendors received Rs 50 lakh in cash from him.
He alleged that the Enforcement Directorate has so far picked up and “wrongfully confined” 28 people to give a statement against him.
“Some of the ED and other agencies personnel also confessed to the very people they are summoning that they have been asked by their bosses to ‘fix’ me,” Raut alleged.
He urged Naidu to not only take note of the “abuse of power” but speak up and take action.