Shivsena MLA Pratap Sarnaik’s troubles in Maharashtra have increased. His residence and office in Thane on Tuesday morning were raided by the Enforcement Directorate squad. Officers told the news agency PTI that the action against the leader was in connection with the money laundering case.
Official sources claimed that the central agency raided 10 Sarnaik-linked locations in Thane and Mumbai under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Officials said, “Politicians are being raided here, including the promoters of the Tops Group” (the company providing security) and related people. “Sarnaik represents the Owla-Majiwada constituency in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. In Thane, Shiv Sena MLA and spokesperson Pratap Sarnaik’s son’s premises are being searched.
According to reports, this has happened due to the economic transaction between Red Top Security Group and MLA Pratap Sarnaik. PrathapSarnaik’s son VihangSarnaik has been taken to ED’s office in South Mumbai for questioning.
Meanwhile, the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the state has accused the BJP led central government of misusing central agencies to arm-twist political opponents, in the wake of searches by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on-premises linked to Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik and the subsequent arrest of his son Vihang in connection with a money laundering case.
State Congress president and revenue minister in the Uddhav Thackeray-led coalition government BalasahebThorat said, “The ED action is objectionable and unfortunate. The BJP at the Centre is trying to muzzle voices of those speaking out against it. The ED, Central Bureau of Investigation are being used to settle political scores. Such action is not seen in BJP-ruled states.”
Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant accused the BJP of using “dirty politics” to target opponents. “We haven’t come across raids against BJP leaders in the last six years,” he said.
NCP also joined the bandwagon as Chaggan Bhujbal, another senior minister in the state government also slammed the raids accusing the ED of being the “Centre’s puppet”.
Sarnaik has been a critic of Bollywood actress KanganaRanaut and Editor-in-Chief of Republic TV Arnab Goswami over the past few weeks. He had demanded action against Ranaut, when the actress described Mumbai as Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
MLA Pratap Sarnaik from Owla-Mazzawada seat of Thane district of Maharashtra had moved a motion for breach of privilege against Arnab Goswami. On September 16, a privilege violation was proposed against Arnab Goswami on charges of using derogatory language against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and NCP President Sharad Pawar.
Pratap also played a leading role in reopening the Suicide case of interior designer Anvay Naik. Anvay held Arnab and two others responsible for the death, accusing them of not paying dues. In the same case, Arnab was arrested from home by the Mumbai Police. KanganaRanaut had challenged to come to Mumbai at the height of the ongoing dispute with the Maharashtra government. At that time Pratap Sarnaik had said that KanganaRanaut’s language is not civilized and the women’s wing of the Shiv Sena would definitely teach them a lesson. Apart from this, the action of BMC at KanganaRanaut’s house was also justified by Pratap Sarnaik.