ED harassed me, family after I refused to help topple Maha Govt, claims Raut in his letter to RS chairman Naidu

| Updated : February 9, 2022, 4:25 pm
Updated : February 9, 2022, 4:25 pm

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New Delhi: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Tuesday wrote to Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu alleging that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has been harassing him and his family after he refused to help topple the Maharashtra government.

“The ED and other investigating agency officials are now reduced to puppets of their political masters,” he alleged, adding that the officials have even admitted that they have been “asked by their ‘bosses’ to ‘fix’ him.”

Pointing out that the Shiv Sena and BJP were coalition partners for more than 25 years before parting ways over “ideological differences”, Raut alleged that leaders and legislators of the Sena have been “systematically targeted” by “using” law enforcement agencies such as the ED.

Raut made these sensational claims in his four page letter to Naidu, adding that he was threatened with imprisonment if he refused to help in forcing a mid-term election in the state.

In his letter, the Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha member said, “About a month ago, I was approached by certain people and was told to assist them in toppling the state government in Maharashtra. They wanted me to be instrumental in such endeavour so that the state could be forced into a midterm election.”

“I refused to be a party to any such clandestine agenda which was being pursued, upon which I was warned that my refusal could lead to my paying a very heavy price. I was even told that my fate could be like that of a former union railway minister who spent many years behind bars. I was even warned that apart from me, two other senior ministers in the cabinet of the state of Maharashtra as well as two senior leaders in Maharashtra would also be sent behind the bars under the PMLA Act which would lead to midterm elections in the state of Maharashtra with all important leaders in the state being behind bars,” he claimed.

He further said that his family owns some land — barely 1 acre — at Alibaug which was purchased about 17 years ago but those who sold the land, along with their family members, are being threatened by the ED and other agencies to give statements against him saying that they received some cash from him over and above the agreement value.

“This is also happening to other people who had sold a similar small piece of land to me and my family in 2012-2013,” he claimed.

“All these properties are in the public domain and have been filed in all my affidavits filed along with my nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha. For all these years, there were no questions asked of me. However, suddenly now everything has become a matter of ‘concern’ for the ED and other agencies. ED and other agencies have no business to investigate in respect of a property/properties acquired nearly two decades ago,” Raut said.

He went further to allege that 28 people have so far been picked up and “wrongfully confined” by the probe agencies and have been threatened with dire consequences if they don’t give statements against him.

Pointing to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) that was enacted in 2003, he alleged that the ED and other central agencies are threatening and harassing BJP’s political rivals by using the Act retrospectively with ulterior motive “in the garb of investigation” for decades-old transactions “that have nothing to do with any money laundering” even when the Act can only be applied to transactions after 2003.

He also alleged that the probe agencies are summoning, intimidating and threatening the decorators and other vendors of the wedding event of his daughter last year to extract a statement that they “received Rs 50 lakhs in cash”.

“Ever since Shiv Sena parted ways with the BJP in Maharashtra, we find Shiv Sena MPs/ leaders being systematically targeted by using law enforcing agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate being let loose against us and in the process. Enforcement Directorate personnel are leaving no stone unturned to intimidate/harass our legislators, MPs, political leaders as well as their relatives, friends, and acquaintances,” Raut added in his letter.

Raut said he was not scared and “will not bow down and will continue to speak the truth”.

“I perceive these attempts by the ED and other agencies as a direct attack on my right to speak freely in the House and outside the House. I perceive it to be an attack on our democracy. I perceive the recent attacks on people known and unknown to me to have been occasioned due to my refusal to partake in conspiring to topple the State Government in Maharashtra,” the Shiv Sena leader added.

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