Hitting back hard, the Maharashtra government has set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe allegations of corruption levelled against the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil said here on Tuesday.
The development comes nearly two months after Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vice-President & Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu on February 28, levelling serious charges against the ED and accusing the central agency of running an ‘extortion racket’ in Mumbai.
“We have set up an SIT to probe these allegations… It is headed by Additional Commissioner of Police (Addl. CoP) Viresh Prabhu. We will give them whatever time period required for its investigations,” said Walse-Patil.
Among other things, Raut had submitted a list of the ED officers who allegedly extorted money of crores of rupees with the help of one Jitendra Navlani under threats of framing them in various cases.
Earlier, the Mumbai Police Economic Offences Wing (EOW), monitored by a Deputy Commissioner of Police, was conducting the probe but now it has gone to the SIT.
On March 8, Raut had made a sensational expose before the media claiming how ED officials and Navlani — reportedly close to the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party — had taken huge sums of money illegally from various builders and corporates against investigation of threats, and directly charged the central agency of acting like the ‘ATM’ of the BJP.
Later, Shiv Sena leader Arvind Bhosale lodged a police complaint, which initiated the probe, and now it will be further investigated by the SIT, with Raut warning of another big exposure into the ED’s affairs.