“If You Want To Jail Me…”: Uddhav Thackeray To BJP On Raids

Uddhav Thackeray said BJP leaders’ family members were not harassed.

Mumbai:

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday hit out at the BJP, three days after his brother-in-law found himself targeted by the Enforcement Directorate with the agency freezing Rs 6.45 crore in his assets in a money laundering case.

“If you want to come to power, then come to power. But don’t do all these vicious things to come to power. Don’t harass our or anyone else’s family members. We never bothered your family members,” he said in the assembly.

“It is not that we are saying that your families have done something wrong or that they have something that we can trouble you about. If you want to put us in jail to come to power, put me in jail,” Mr Thackeray said in what he called an “emotional” appeal.

The seizures of Uddhav Thackeray’s brother-in-law’s assets came two weeks after the Income Tax Department conducted a series of raids on people considered close to his son Aaditya Thackeray, a minister, and colleague Anil Parab prompting their party Shiv Sena to accuse the BJP at the centre of selectively targeting political opponents.

The move came two weeks after the Income Tax Department conducted a series of raids on people considered close to his son Aaditya Thackeray, a minister, and colleague Anil Parab prompting their party Shiv Sena to accuse the BJP at the centre of selectively targeting political opponents.

Shridhar Madhav Patankar, the brother of Mr Thackeray’s wife Rashmi, “owns and controls” Shree Saibaba Grihanirmiti Private Limited, it alleged. The agency claimed funds that were allegedly siphoned off in a money laundering case being investigated against a company named Pushpak Bullion were “parked” in the real estate projects of Shree Saibaba Grihanirmiti Pvt. Ltd.

The ED, which reports to the BJP government at the centre, has been markedly active along with other central investigating agencies in chasing targets in Maharashtra in recent months. The government has denied charges of any bias.

Late last month, Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik was arrested after questioning by the agency in connection with a money laundering case linked to fugitive terrorist Dawood Ibrahim. He will be in judicial custody till at least April 4.

Before him, former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, also a leader of Sharad Pawar’s NCP, was arrested by the ED in November. He is currently in judicial custody.

At a news conference last month, Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut had said the BJP would be using investigating agencies to try and topple the Maharashtra government and target its leaders and their families, including Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. The allegations followed raids on people linked to him.

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