ED registers money-laundering case against Shiv Sena politician
The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday registered a money-laundering case against Shiv Sena politician and Maharashtra transport minister Anil Parab and searched seven locations linked to him in connection with alleged irregularities in a land deal, agency sources said.
The Sena alleged that the searches, which come in the lead-up to civic polls in Mumbai, reflected a political vendetta by the Narendra Modi government, known to unleash investigative agencies against political opponents.
“We are with Anil Parab. The Centre is using its agencies against the Opposition. This is just a conspiracy to defame the Maharashtra government,” Sena leader Sanjay Raut said.
The raids on Parab, who is close to chief minister and Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, come a day after the ED summoned Sena politician Yashwant Jadhav, former chairman of the Mumbai civic corporation’s standing committee, for alleged foreign exchange violations.
Sena sources said that Parab and Jadhav were expected to be the party’s key strategists for the elections to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, considered India’s richest civic body, later this year.
Parab is the third minister in the Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress coalition government to have come under the scanner of central agencies.
The ED had arrested minister Nawab Malik in February this year and fellow minister Anil Deshmukh in November last year in separate money-laundering cases. Both are from the NCP.
Agency sources said a case had been registered against Parab under criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and searches were conducted at seven premises linked to him in Mumbai, Pune and Ratnagiri.
“Parab allegedly bought a plot in Dapoli, Ratnagiri district, for Rs 1 crore in 2017 but it was registered in 2019,” an ED official said.
“The land was later allegedly sold to a Mumbai based cable operator in 2020 for Rs 1.10 crore. Between 2017 and 2020, a resort was built on the plot. The agency is also probing other land deals involving Parab.”
Raut said: “Whatever your (BJP’s) vendetta politics, we (Sena) will not bow before it.”
In February, Raut had written to Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu alleging he was being harassed by central agencies because he had refused to help topple the coalition government in Maharashtra.
He had alleged that the central agencies were being used to target the BJP’s rivals and dislodge their state governments.
Raut had urged politicians to protest and reminded them that Nazi rule had not spared those who had failed to unite and oppose it while there was time.