In a sensational allegation, the Shiv Sena on Tuesday said that the central probe agency, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is indulging in extortion rackets in Maharashtra and West Bengal and has become the ‘ATM’ of the Bharatiya Janata Party, with activist Kirit Somaiya acting as their ‘collection agent’.
“The maximum activities of the ED and the Income Tax Department are in Maharashtra and West Bengal. Today, there are a series of ITD raids 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 media persons.
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 extorted huge sums of money from them, with Somaiya acting as their conduit.
He alleged that one Jitendra Chandralal Navlani was acting as the custodian of the ill-gotten wealth and handling the ‘benami properties’ of ED officials and BJP leaders.
“The ED started taking action against these builders but soon afterwards large sums of monies were transferred from various targeted persons to the seven companies reportedly owned by Navlani. Who is he and what are his connections with the BJP leaders? Will the ED-ITD investigate and take action against him, as they keep doing against us?” demanded Raut.
The Sena leader reiterated that on February 28, he has submitted a detailed 13-page complaint to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and is awaiting action.
Raut 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.
“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.
Dismissing outright the allegations against him, Somaiya told mediapersons that he has no connection with Navlani or any of the other persons mentioned by Raut and denied that he acted as an ‘agent’ for the ED, but vowed to continue his crusade against the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.