Mumbai: Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut, among the most vociferous backers of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray amid a revolt in the party, has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Mumbai for questioning tomorrow in a case of alleged money laundering.
Team Thackeray has been saying that the mutiny led by Eknath Shinde is a result of the “pressure of ED, CBI and other central agencies.”
The ED had in April attached Sanjay Raut’s properties in connection with the Rs. 1,034-crore Patra Chawl land scam case. Raut had said then, “I am not the one who will get scared. Seize my property, shoot me, or send me to jail, Sanjay Raut is Balasaheb Thackeray’s follower and a Shiv Sainik.”
Two months on, as several Shiv Sena MLAs rebelled and sought a breakup of the Sena’s alliance with the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Raut accused them of acting on the directions of the Centre’s ruling BJP. The rebels have insisted that the Sena should go back to its “natural” alliance with the BJP, citing a shared Hindutva ideology.
Petition in SC
Meanwhile, rebel faction leader Eknath Shinde moved the Supreme Court against the Shiv Sena’s move to disqualify him and 15 other rebel MLAs, Uddhav Thackeray’s team said they are prepared for a legal battle.
In his petition, Eknath Shinde said that the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance in Maharashtra has lost the majority in the house as 38 of 55 Shiv Sena legislators have withdrawn their support for the coalition.
The Eknath Shinde camp has also challenged the rejection of the no-confidence motion against Deputy Speaker Narahari Zirwal. The rebels have sought directions to Zirwal to not take any action on the disqualification plea, which was filed by the Shiv Sena last week, till the matter of his removal is decided.
Senior advocate Devdutt Kamat, who is also the legal advisor for Shiv Sena, meanwhile, asserted that the Deputy Speaker has all the powers to adjudicate in the absence of the Speaker. He said that the concept of 2/3rd majority applies only when there is a merger with another party.