The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) supremo Raj Thackeray in reference to its money laundering probe in Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited (IL&FS) default payment case. Raj Thackeray, thus, has to appear before the ED on August 22, Thursday.
The MNS party workers, as usual, have reacted in their patent style and have stood with their chief. The MNS and other political parties standing in the opposition have claimed that this chapter is a ‘Political Vendetta’ against MNS Chief Raj Thackeray. When Ajanta News spoke to MNS Spokesperson Sandeep Deshpande about MNS’s stand on the issue, he said that they are not afraid of any inquiry and blamed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for defaming Raj Thackeray by summoning him to appear before the officials of ED.
“New India’s New Hitler is Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party’s new party workers are Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED), they are used like BJP’s party workers. And we do not fear any inquiry. Whatever inquiry takes place; let it happen, let ‘doodh ka doodh aur paani ka paani’ happen. We just want to say that BJP is trying to defame Raj Thackeray, because they do not like questions being raised against them. The type of questions Raj Thackeray is raising for example he has raised questions against the EVMs and got the opposition parties together and because of this 56 inches chest (referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi) has also got scared and that’s why they are creating suspicious environment for the people and for damaging Raj Thackeray’s image, the notice has been sent,” said Sandeep Deshpande to Ajanta News.
When we asked that if summoning Raj Thackeray by ED is a “political vendetta” then why the government has targeted Raj Thackeray, Sandeep Deshpande said, “The way he campaigned in the Lok Sabha, in the same way he got the opposition parties together, and fearing this, BJP has done this in the form of ‘political vendetta’”.
According to the reports, the investigating agency also summoned Unmesh Joshi, the son of former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi. Notably, the agency is investigating IL&FS’s loan and equity investment of Rs. 860 crores in Kohinoor CTNL Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd., the company constructing Dadar’s (Mumbai) Kohinoor Square towers. Kohinoor CTNL is also one of the defaulters.
IL&FS, however, is an infrastructure development and finance company that defaulted on several payments last year (2018). It has an overall debt of Rs. 91,000 crore. The company, thus, had attempted to sell its assets to repay the debt and after several defaults forced the government to overhaul its management.
Sources say that the ED is probing the investment and shareholding in Kohinoor building in which Raj Thackeray along with Rajan Shirodkar and Unmesh Joshi made a deal of Rs. 421 crore. The deal came under scanner during probe in IL&FS scam case.
According to the sources, ED wants to question Thackeray on his exit from the group. The probe has revealed IL&FS group had invested Rs. 225 crore in the company. In 2008, IL&FS surrendered it’s shares for only Rs. 90 crore and booked a loss. Thackeray exited the consortium by selling his shares, the same year. Subsequently, IL&FS advanced loans to Kohinoor CTNL, which it allegedly failed to repay. In the year 2011, Kohinoor CTNL entered into an agreement to sell some commercial-residential premises in Kohinoor Square to IL&FS and settled Rs. 500 crore pending loan amount. Following which, IL&FS further lent Rs. 135 crore to Kohinoor CTNL, on which it defaulted.
ED has recorded statements of many other people involved in the case. However, coming back to the summoning of Raj Thackeray, the episode will definitely have political implications. MNS has allegedly decided to stage a protest on Thursday, the day when Thackeray is ordered to appear before ED. MNS has allegedly announced Thane bandh on Thursday but when asked about this to Sandeep Deshpande, he refused and said that the news is not correct. “Thane won’t be shut down and locals won’t be troubled by whatever we will do.” said Deshpande to Ajanta News.
When asked about what MNS is planning to do on August 22 in the form of protest, Deshpande replied, “Whatever we will do, we’ll do according to our ways on August 22 and we will not open the cards right now.”