Soon after officials of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) reached Sanjay Raut’s residence today to question him in a money laundering case, the Shiv Sena leader tweeted that the central agency’s investigation is based on “false evidence”.
ED investigators reached the Rajya Sabha MP’s home this morning after he missed summons twice — on July 20 and July 27. The agency wants to question him in connection with the redevelopment of a chawl in Mumbai. Mr Raut, who is a close aide of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, has denied any wrongdoing and alleged that he is being targeted out of political vendetta.
“I have nothing to do with any scam. I am saying this by taking the oath of Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray. Balasaheb taught us to fight. I will continue to fight for Shiv Sena,” he tweeted in Marathi this morning. “False action. False evidence. I will not leave Shiv Sena. Even if I die, I will not surrender. Jai Maharashtra,” he added.
BJP MLA Ram Kadam questioned why the Sena leader missed the summons. “Why is he scared of Enforcement Directorate if he is innocent? He has all the time for press conferences but no time to visit the probe agency’s office for questioning,” he said.
The Sena leader was questioned on July 1 in connection with the case. He was summoned to appear again on July 20, but he cited the ongoing Parliament session. He was then asked to appear on July 27, but he did not.
Mr Raut has come out in the support of the Thackerays in the tussle to control Shiv Sena following Eknath Shinde’s rebellion that brought down the Maha Vikas Aghadi government and unseated Uddhav Thackeray as chief minister.
When he was summoned on June 28, right in the middle of the high-voltage political drama in Maharashtra, he had tweeted, “I just came to know that the ED has summoned me. Good ! There are big political developments in Maharashtra. We, Balasaheb’s Shivsainiks are fighting a big battle. This is a conspiracy to stop me. Even if you behead me, I won’t take the Guwahati route. Arrest me ! Jai Hind!”