INS Vikrant cheating case: BJP’s Kirit Somaiya says he has not misused even 57 paise
The former MP and his son have been booked for allegedly siphoning off funds amounting to over Rs 57 crore to restore the Indian Navy’s first aircraft carrier.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kirit Somaiya on Tuesday claimed that he had not misused funds worth even 57 paise in his political life, reported PTI.
The former MP is being investigated for allegedly siphoning off funds amounting to over Rs 57 crore that had been collected to restore INS Vikrant, the Indian Navy’s first aircraft carrier.
“[Maharashtra] Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray via Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut falsely accused me of amassing Rs 57 crore in the name of conserving the decommissioned naval ship Vikrant,” Somaiya told reporters outside the office of the Economic Offences Wing in Mumbai. “In my entire political life, I never amassed or misused even 57 paise illegally but now I am being falsely accused by the Shiv Sena.”
On Tuesday, the BJP leader was questioned by investigators of the Economic Offences Wing for the second consecutive day.
Somaiya and his son Neil had filed for pre-arrest bail on April 9 after the Mumbai Police filed a criminal case against them on the basis of a complaint by 53-year-old former Army officer Baban Bhosle.
According to the complaint, Somaiya had started a campaign between 2013 and 2014 to raise funds to restore the aircraft carrier. However, the money raised was not deposited with the Maharashtra governor’s secretary office but siphoned off into his own business.
On Tuesday, Somaiya told reporters that he has given all the information regarding the “Save INS Vikrant” campaign to authorities. “The information is already in the public domain but as a part of the probe, I have produced it before them,” he added, according to PTI.
Somaiya said that the Shiv Sena would have to explain before the court what information the party has to accuse him of siphoning off the funds.
On April 13, the Bombay High Court had granted anticipatory bail to Somaiya, stating that the first information report does not reflect how the complainant arrived at the amount of Rs 57 crore.
On April 11, a sessions court had said that there is photographic evidence that Somaiya had collected the money along with a letter claiming that he would deposit the money with the governor. However, he did not do so.
Somaiya and his son have been booked under Sections 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.