Raj Thackeray Questioned By Enforcement Directorate In Money Laundering Case
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case.
The MNS leader reached the ED office at 11:25 a.m. and walked out at 8:15 p.m.
He did not respond to queries from waiting media personnel, folded his hands in greeting, got in his car and drove to his residence in Dadar.
There was not much perceptible change in his demeanor while entering and exiting the ED office after spending almost nine hours inside.
ED officials had prepared a questionnaire to get a fair idea of financial transactions, the official said. They allowed Raj to leave after recording his statement in the case, the official said.
There was no word from ED officials on whether he will be called again for questioning.
When he reached the ED office, Raj was accompanied by wife Sharmila, son Amit and daughter-in-law Mitali. After he entered the office alone, his family members camped at a nearby hotel.
The ED summoned him in a case pertaining to alleged irregularities related to Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services loan to Kohinoor CTNL.
Throughout the day-long developments, Mumbai remained calm and there were no incidents of violence.
Police imposed section 144 of CrPC (banning unlawful assembly) outside the ED office and in some parts of Dadar, where the MNS chief resides and parts of central Mumbai.
The move was taken apprehending law and order problem, a police official said. "Raj has appealed to his party workers not to throng outside the ED office but we don't want to take any chances," the official said.
MNS workers Santosh Dhuri and Ravi More were detained from Mumbai and Thane respectively.
"We imposed section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code under the jurisdiction of Mata Ramabai Ambedkar Marg Police Station, where the ED office is located," the official said.
Section 144 prohibits assembly of more than four persons in an area where there is likelihood of breach of peace and disturbance of public tranquility, he said.
Though Thackeray had appealed party workers not to protest over the issue, there was a possibility of gathering of supporters outside the ED office, the official said.
"The area outside the ED office was been covered with barricades from three sides of the building and there is just one way to enter or exit," the official said.
Police personnel were deployed in Dadar area in central Mumbai and other places where MNS has stronghold, to maintain law and order, the official said.
Mumbai police on Wednesday served notices to MNS functionaries and several party workers under section 149 of CrPC as a precautionary measure, he said. Section 149 pertains to prevention of cognisable offences.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said the entire Thackeray family is supporting Raj Thackeray.
Raut's statement came a day after Shiv Sena chief and Raj’s cousin Uddhav Thackeray said that he believed nothing much would come out of the ED's probe.
"Uddhav Thackeray already made it clear yesterday that nothing concrete will be found against Raj. As Uddhav has extended support to his brother, his entire family is behind Raj Thackeray," the Rajya Sabha member said.
"Let the investigation get over. Raj is cooperating with the ED, unlike P Chidambaram," he said.
The NCP smelt "political vendetta" behind ED's action against Raj Thackeray. NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik alleged it was the Modi government's "model" of "misusing" probe agencies to harass opposition leaders who speak up against it and added people will see through the developments.
Hitting out at the BJP government over the ED summons to Thackeray, NCP leader Dhananjay Munde said an "undeclared Emergency" has become more apparent in the country now.
The ED summons came days after the MNS chief's meetings with opposition leaders like Sonia Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee on his demand for replacing EVMs with ballot papers.
The ED is probing alleged irregularities relating to loans and equity investment worth over Rs 450 crore by IL&FS in Kohinoor CTNL Infrastructure Company, which is developing Kohinoor Square tower in Mumbai's Dadar area.
Former Maharashtra chief minister and senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi's son Unmesh Joshi was also summoned by the ED in this case.