KOLHAPUR/PUNE — In a dawn swoop, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Income Tax Department raided the Kolhapur home and some other locations linked to senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Hasan Mushrif and his aides in Kolhapur and Pune for alleged corruption and money-laundering cases, on Wednesday.
The raids in the two cities came after Bharatiya Janata Party former MP Kirit Somaiya made allegations of financial irregularities, corruption and money-laundering of hundreds of crores pertaining to deals through defunct companies, a sugar mill, besides amassing huge properties, against the former Maha Vikas Aghadi government minister.
Teams of around two dozen ED-ITD sleuths swarmed at Mushrif’s home in Kagal town of Kolhapur around 6 a.m., and other places connected with the NCP leader, amid tight security and after the operation confiscated certain documents and other evidence.
On the radar of the probe agencies for some time, Mushrif has vehemently denied Somaiya’s accusations and said people of a ‘particular community are being targetted’.
“The countdown for Mushrif has begun… Why does Hasan-Miya remember his religion now? After this, there are many other leaders who will face the consequences,” warned Somaiya, naming Congress former Minister from Mumbai Aslam Shaikh.
He cited several instances of alleged money deals involving Mushrif, his associates, and others through shell or bogus companies, how the funds were reportedly routed for other illegal deals worth hundreds of crores of rupees.
Somaiya’s allegations include Mushrif grabbing control of the Appasaheb Nalawade Gadhinglaj Cooperative Sugar Mill Ltd., payoffs and money-laundering of huge amounts through murky transactions benefitting him, his family or associates.
A large number of NCP activists gathered outside Mushrif’s home and staged angry protests, raised slogans against the BJP, the government and the probe agencies, and gave calls for ‘Kolhapur shutdown’ Wednesday.
After Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik, Mushrif is the third senior NCP, besides Shiv Sena (UT)’s MP Sanjay Raut, to be targeted by various probe agencies in the past couple of years.
MVA slams BJP
Meanwhile, accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party of unleashing ‘politics of fear’, the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) slammed the Enforcement Directorate-Income Tax Department (ED-ITD) raids on senior Nationalist Congress Party leader Hasan Mushrif and his aides in Kolhapur and Pune since dawn on Wednesday.
Top MVA leaders, including state NCP President Jayant Patil, Leader of Opposition (Assembly) Ajit Pawar, Dilip Walse-Patil, Chief Spokesperson Mahesh Tapase, state Congress President Nana Patole, Chief Spokesperson Atul Londhe, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut, Leader of Opposition (Council) Ambadas Danve, and others condemned the raids on Mushrif.
Patil said attempts are made to ‘defame’ the Opposition leaders while Patole said its part of the BJP strategy to create ‘fear among the Opposition leaders’ with a blatant misuse of the probe agencies, making a mockery of democracy and “the people will teach the BJP a lesson through the democratic process”.
Claiming there are systematic attempts to target sugar factories since 2014 and crush the cooperative movement which has benefitted the farming community, Londhe said why “only the Opposition leaders are being hounded” and why Somaiya is not talking about those who have walked over to the BJP.
Claiming that Mushrif is being framed for speaking out against the BJP, Raut asked why the tainted leaders who joined the BJP are not being touched by Somaiya or the probe agencies. — IANS
Photo: Teams of around two dozen ED-ITD sleuths swarmed at Mushrif’s home in Kagal town of Kolhapur around 6 a.m., and other places connected with the NCP.