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ED raids premises linked to Maharashtra Minister Anil Parab

FILE: Maharashtra Minister Anil Parab

FILE: Maharashtra Minister Anil Parab | Photo Credit: VIVEK BENDRE

In a jolt to the Shiv Sena, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday raided multiple locations across Maharashtra linked to party leader and State Transport Minister Anil Parab after the agency filed a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The ED searched seven premises in Mumbai, Pune and the Konkan region (particularly in Dapoli where Mr. Parab owns a resort) either directly belonging to Mr. Parab or belonging to persons said to be connected with him.

The raids began at 6 a.m. Among the places searched were Mr. Parab’s official residence, official bungalow ‘Ajinkyatara’ in south Mumbai, his private residence, the residence of a person in Kothrud who has had dealings with Mr. Parab, as well as places in Ratnagiri and Mr. Parab’s resort in Dapoli, which has been in the eye of a political storm for several months now.

Mr. Parab is the third Minister in the Uddhav Thackeray-led tripartite ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ (MVA) coalition to feel the heat of Central agencies after the ED arrested NCP leaders Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik.

The raids on Mr. Parab, a close confidant of Chief Minister and Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, come a day after the ED on Wednesday issued summons to Sena leader Yashwant Jadhav, the former chairman of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) standing committee, for alleged violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act.  

BMC poll

The timing of the raids is significant given that the polls to the BMC – considered to be India’s richest civic body – are due in some months. The Opposition BJP is straining every sinew to break the Shiv Sena’s stranglehold over the BMC, which is considered to be the Sena’s nerve-centre and financial lifeline. The BJP recently launched a ‘Pol Khol’ campaign to expose the alleged corruption brewing within the civic body.  

Both Mr. Parab and Mr. Jadhav are key strategists in the upcoming BMC poll, besides having the Chief Minister’s ear on major issues pertaining to policy in the State government and the BMC respectively.

Stating that the Sena was firmly behind Mr. Parab, Sena MP Sanjay Raut accused the BJP-ruled Centre of acting with “political malice” in carrying out such raids.

“Such raids by Central agencies have been going on for some time now. They are out of sheer political malice. Compared to the kind of allegations which are being made against Anil Parab and my other colleagues, more serious cases are pending against BJP leaders. But the agencies do not touch them… Whatever be your [the BJP’s] vendetta politics, we [Shiv Sena and the MVA] will not bow before it. All elections will go smoothly, so will the functioning of the MVA,” said Mr. Raut, adding that such raids, instead of demoralising the Sena, merely served to increase the party’s confidence.

In April, Mr. Raut himself had been under the ED’s scanner, with the agency attaching his assets in Mumbai and Alibaug.   

NCP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar gave a guarded reaction following the raids on Mr. Parab.

Speaking in Mumbai, Mr. Pawar said: “The Income Tax also raided the homes of my relatives. While Central and State agencies have the authority to probe anything they want, the expectation is that they should not misuse their powers. All such raids ought to be carried out in a transparent manner and without any political angle.”

Meanwhile, BJP leader Kirit Somaiya, who has been targeting Mr. Parab over allegedly ‘illicit’ constructions in the Konkan, remarked that Mr. Parab ought to be prepared to go behind bars.

“After Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik, the third State Cabinet Minister Anil Parab needs to pack his bags to go to jail… firstly, Anil Parab’s name had come up after [dismissed] assistant police inspector Sachin Vaze had claimed that Mr. Parab received crores of rupees as kickbacks for effecting police transfers. Then in 2020, the Maharashtra government itself had lodged a case of fraud and cheating on his illicit resort in Dapoli. I think the ED will cover all these allegations in their probe against him,” said Mr. Somaiya.

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Printable version | May 26, 2022 1:12:48 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ed-raids-premises-linked-to-maharashtra-minister-anil-parab/article65462886.ece