The Enforcement Directorate on Sunday summoned Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut’s wife Varsha Raut in the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank scam case, The Indian Express reported. After the summons were issued, Maharashtra’s ruling coalition accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of using central agencies to target it.
Varsha Raut was asked to appear before the Enforcement Directorate on December 29. The agency is looking into alleged financial transactions between her and Pravin Raut, who has been arrested in the case.
Sanjay Raut told The Indian Express that he was yet to see a copy of the notice served to his wife. “They [the Enforcement Directorate] should show us on paper what they have found in their investigation.” Raut said.
Several leaders of the Maha Vikas Aghadi said that the notice to Raut’s wife was politically motivated. “This is nothing but revenge politics and we condemn it strongly,” Congress leader Naseem Khan was quoted as saying by News18. Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said that the BJP used the central agency as a weapon against those who questioned it.
Congress Spokesperson Sachin Sawant said that the BJP should open an Enforcement Directorate office within its own headquarters. Maharashtra Pradesh President Balasaheb Thorat, meanwhile, accused the BJP of trying to create fear in the minds of their opponents.
When asked about the notice, BJP leader and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that he was not a “spokesperson of the ED”, NDTV reported. “Tell them not to worry,” he said. “If it is a good job, go ahead. Why be afraid? Sanjay Raut tweets like this every day.” Fadnavis was apparently referring to Raut’s tweet in which he said “let’s see who has more strength”.
The ED summoned Raut’s wife a day after it issued a notice to Nationalist Congress Party leader Eknath Khadse in a money-laundering case.
The investigation agency is looking into allegations that the PMC bank did not report all its non-performing assets, or bad loans, after providing funds to a number of companies. The scam, which is said to be worth Rs 4,355 crore, had caused a huge liquidity crisis in 2019.
Last week, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had warned the BJP to not compel him to act against it, after the Enforcement Directorate raided Shiv Sena MP Pratap Sarnaik’s premises and detained his son Vihang Sarnaik in an alleged money laundering case.
Sarnaik had moved a breach of privilege motion against Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and also sought reopening of investigation into the suicide of interior designer Anvay Naik, who left a note accusing Goswami and two others of not clearing his dues.