The Congress and Nationalist Congress Party on Monday expressed support for Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, who has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in an alleged money laundering case. Several leaders from these parties rebuked the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government for using the Enforcement Directorate to intimidate the members of the Opposition.

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury called Raut a “man of conviction and courage”.

He added, “The only crime Sanjay Raut has committed is that he has not been cowered down by the politics of intimidation of the BJP party.”

The Enforcement Directorate is investigating Raut in a case referred to as the Patra Chawl scam, which involves alleged fraud worth Rs 1,034 crore. The alleged fraudulent financial transactions are connected with the redevelopment of a chawl – a building consisting of several tenements – in Mumbai.

Besides Raut, the central agency has also accused his wife and construction company HDIL promoter Rakesh Wadhwan of fraudulently raising money for the project to siphon off the amount with no intent to complete the tenement.

Before arresting Raut, the Enforcement Directorate searched his Mumbai house for nine hours on Sunday. According to Raut’s counsel, the agency took some documents from the property.

Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe on Monday asked why the Enforcement Directorate did not file a chargesheet if it had the documents, The Indian Express reported.

“The ED, CBI and Income Tax are no longer functioning as investigating agencies,” he said. “They have become a political tool to harass and humiliate Opposition leaders. Today’s ED raids are part of this BJP strategy to target its rivals. The BJP’s main aim is to send out the message that either those who are being raided should join their party or go to jail.”

Nationalist Congress Party state spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said that the Enforcement Directorate raids were a part of the BJP’s strategy to humiliate the Maha Vikas Aghadi leaders in the state.

The Maha Vikas Aghadi was a coalition government in Maharashtra comprising members of Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress. It was toppled by a rebel faction of Shiv Sena in June.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said that the BJP wanted Parliament without the Opposition and that is why it is acting on MPs like Raut, ANI reported.

“We will raise the issue of inflation, Gujarat hooch tragedy in Parliament,” he said. “‘Op Keechad’ by the BJP in Jharkhand will also be raised today.”

Kharge was talking about raising the issues during the ongoing Monsoon session of Parliament. The session has witnessed low productivity due to repeated adjournments over the Opposition’s demand for a discussion on inflation and tax increases on several goods and services.

The Opposition now also wants to discuss the deaths due to spurious liquor in Gujarat – where the manufacture, sale and consumption of alcohol are banned.

The leaders also appear to be gearing up to discuss the arrest of Jharkhand Congress MLAs, who were caught in Howrah with large amounts of cash. Congress suspended the MLAs and said that a plan was being hatched in BJP-ruled Assam to topple the Jharkhand government.