MNS threatens bandh over ED notice to chief

Updated: Aug 20, 2019, 07:43 IST | Dharmendra Jore

Raj Thackeray is being targetted for raising questions over EVM tampering, party leaders alleged; Congress and NCP leaders too join vendetta claims

MNS threatens bandh over ED notice to chief
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray (far right), along with other Congress and NCP leaders, has been vocal about the need to do away with EVM machines. FILE PIC

Reacting sharply to the Enforcement Directorate’s proposed questioning of Raj Thackeray, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has threatened to call a bandh in Thane and the city on August 22, the day the party chief has been asked to visit the investigating agency’s office.

The Thane unit has issued a statement asking people to avoid venturing out on the day. Thackeray has been issued a notice in the matter of Dadar’s Kohinoor Mill No 3 land deal.

His former partner in the deal — Unmesh Joshi, son of ex-CM Manohar Joshi (Shiv Sena) — was also served a notice. Joshi appeared before the officials on Monday.

MNS cried foul calling the notice an act of vendetta against Thackeray who has been consistently criticising the BJP government. Opposition parties, the Congress and NCP also joined the chorus, saying that the BJP was misusing power.

"Our leader hasn’t done anything wrong. We have nothing to fear about. Raj saheb will face the inquiry," said MNS leader Sandeep Deshpande, asking why no BJP leader was inquired by the ED for financial irregularities.

He cautioned the government against any misadventure. "We will take to the streets if the government tries to muzzle our voice. India has a Hitler in Narendra Modi. Whoever speaks against the government is forced to face inquiries. The ED and CBI have become active workers of the BJP," he said.

CM Devendra Fadnavis said he wasn't aware of the ED notice. "Thackeray should not fear if he is innocent," he said.

Deshpande wondered why BJP leaders like Prakash Mehta mired in corruption allegations and leaders who run the Mumbai Bank weren’t probed by any central agency. "Raj saheb has raised questions over EVM tampering and as a consequence of it the BJP has set the ED on him," he said.

State Congress president Balasaheb Thorat and Mumbai NCP president Nawab Malik blamed the BJP for the act of revenge. They said the government was trying to silence leaders who spoke against it.

'Give agencies freehand'

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut played down the allegations. He said he was no politics in the development. "I also spoke against the government. Why haven’t they served me an ED notice? I think the agencies should be given the freedom to investigate. Innocence can be proven if you haven’t done anything wrong," Raut told reporters.

Manohar Joshi said he did not know much about the notice and the entire episode. "I haven't met my son (Unmesh) these days. I don't deny a possibility of mischief but I will have to understand the issue first," he said.

Aug 22
Day Raj Thackeray has been asked to visit the ED office

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