Making a sensational allegation, the Shiv Sena on Tuesday said that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is running extortion rackets in Maharashtra and West Bengal and has become the ‘ATM’ of the BJP, with activist Kirit Somaiya acting as their ‘collection agent’.
“The maximum operations of the ED and Income Tax Department are in Maharashtra and West Bengal. Today, a series of ITD raids are being carried out in Maharashtra,” said Shiv Sena Chief Spokesperson and MP Sanjay Raut.
The ED-ITD have carried out 14 operations in Maharashtra and 7 in West Bengal with the sole design of instilling fear and toppling the two states’ governments, he told a media conference.
Flanked by Mumbai South Sena MP Arvind Sawant, Raut said in the past few years, the ED has zeroed in on around 100 top builders and corporate houses to ‘extort’ hundreds of crores of rupees from them, with Somaiya acting as their conduit.
He claimed that one Jitendra Chandralal Navlani, who is a director in 7 companies is acting as the keeper of the ill-gotten wealth and ‘benami properties’ of ED officials and BJP leaders.
“The ED started ‘investigating’ these builders and corporate houses, but soon afterwards large sums of monies were transferred from various targeted persons to Navlani’s seven companies. Who is he and what are his connections with the BJP leaders? Will the ED-ITD take action against him, as they keep doing against us?” demanded Raut.
He listed the names of the chemicals giant United Phosphorus Ltd, the mega-engineering company Larsen & Toubro, K. Raheja Pvt Ltd, DHFL, builder Avinash Bhosale, IndiaBulls, HDIL, Omkar Realty, Wadhwa Realty, Inorbit Malls, DB Realty, Panorama Studios, Pallazio Hotels, Gaylord Co Ltd, Monsher Fire Protection Systems Pvt Ltd, Nerka Chemicals, and others who allegedly coughed out monies to Navlani’s various companies.
He said after these ‘bribe’ monies were transferred, the ED went slow, did not arrest, weaken case or exonerated the accused, but where the public pressure was huge or backlash from courts was expected, they made some arrests, but took care that their families were protected and all their assets were not seized to broker a deal later, with persons like Somaiya.
Dismissing outright the allegations against him, Somaiya told mediapersons that he has no connections with Navlani or any of the other persons mentioned by Raut and denied that he is an ‘agent’ for the ED, but vowed to continue his crusade against the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
Raut reiterated that on February 28, he had submitted a detailed 13-page complaint to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu, and is awaiting action.
The Sena MP said he has also given around 50 names to the ED-ITD with thousands of documentary evidence, but till date no action has been taken on it, and said that those tasked with prevention of money-laundering have themselves become money-launderers.
He charged the ED with doing the government’s bidding to threaten, intimidate, fix political opponents and dissenters and in turn, the ED officers run their massive extortion rackets of crores of rupees which are laundered or held through fronts and mules like Navlani, Farid Sama and many others.
“There are many names and many particulars which will shock the conscience,” Raut wrote to the PM.
“Today, our Sena leader Arvind Bhosale has submitted a detailed complaint on these matters to the Mumbai Police which will soon start its probe. Somaiya, his son Neil Somaiya will definitely go to jail, besides other officials,” Raut declared.
(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org)