Bids to destabilise Maha govt have failed, central agencies being used against oppn: Pawar

PTI | Mumbai | Updated: 13-10-2021 22:36 IST | Created: 13-10-2021 22:36 IST
Bids to destabilise Maha govt have failed,  central agencies being used against  oppn: Pawar
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NCP president Sharad Pawar on Wednesday alleged that central agencies are being ''misused'' to target the opposition parties in Maharashtra, where he claimed unsuccessful attempts have been made to ''destabilise'' the Shiv Sena-led MVA government in the last two years.

Care is being taken to ensure political opponents are ''defamed'' using the central agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Enforcement Directorate (ED and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), he said at a press conference here.

The NCP shares power with the Shiv Sena and the Congress in Maharashtra, where the three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government will complete two years in office next month.

“The Centre has been continuously using institutions like the CBI, the Income Tax department, the Enforcement Directorate, the Narcotics Control Bureau to target the opposition parties. All these agencies are being misused for political purposes,” he claimed.

His remarks came days after the I-T department raided some entities linked to NCP leader and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.

The former Union minister said personnel of the agencies conducted raids for the sixth day on Wednesday.

Pawar said it is not just the NCP, but the other two MVA constituents are also being targeted by the probe agencies.

“The misuse of power is not restricted to the NCP alone. The target is three parties. And the target is not the main man (minister) but people around them,” the Rajya Sabha member said.

He said people around Ajit Pawar, Congress minister Ashok Chavan and his cabinet colleague Subhash Desai of the Shiv Sena were targeted.

“After making unsuccessful attempts to destabilise the Maharashtra government, they are targeting people close to those who are in the government. This appears to be strategy,” he added.

Referring to the case of former Maharashtra home minister and NCP leader Anil Deshmukh, who is facing probe by central agencies on multiple charges, Pawar said his party colleague had to quit the cabinet in April following allegations levelled against him by ex-Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh.

Singh had alleged that Deshmukh wanted police officers to collect Rs 100 crore monthly from bars and hotels in Mumbai, a charge denied by the NCP leader.

''The one who levelled the charges (Param Bir Singh) is untraceable. But, it never happens that a responsible officer makes allegations against a responsible minister. But, Anil Deshmukh resigned and there are a string of allegations against him. And he (Singh) has fled. This is the difference,'' the NCP president said, coming out in defence of his party leader.

Singh has been booked in multiple cases of extortion. The senior IPS officer is also facing a case under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act registered in April this year on a complaint lodged by a police inspector.

''His (Deshmukh's) house was raided for the fifth time. I don't understand what the agencies got after going there for the fifth time. But they (the agencies) have created a record,'' Pawar quipped.

Taking a dig at the BJP, which heads the NDA government at the Centre and is in the opposition in Maharashtra, the veteran politician said its leaders are at the forefront of defending the central agencies.

The NCP chief further said in his 54-year-long legislative career, he handled several responsibilities for nearly 26 years and had good relations with the administration whether he was in the opposition or in the government.

''We never showed arrogance of power,'' the former Maharashtra CM said.

He also targeted the NCB, which recently conducted a number of raids, including on some high-profile people, saying the Mumbai Police's Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) has done a better job than the central drug law enforcement agency.

Apart from the recent drugs bust onboard a cruise liner off the Mumbai coast, that led to the arrest of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan Khan, NCB's Mumbai zonal director Sameer Wankhede last year investigated a drug case linked to the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput and several other matters related to narcotics involving high-profile people.

Pawar said he got to know about other incidents during Wankhede's tenure at the airport. However, the NCP chief did not elaborate further, saying he does not have full information about this.

In his earlier tenure, Wankhede, an IRS officer, had served at the Mumbai airport. Talking about the recent killing of four farmers in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri district, the former Union agriculture minister said, ''From the very first day, the ruling party (BJP) took a stand that there is no truth in this (killing of farmers). The Uttar Pradesh chief minister cannot absolve himself of the responsibility of not taking action against the crime.'' Eight people, including four farmers, died in violence in Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3. The farmers died after being knocked down by vehicles reportedly carrying BJP workers.

On Saturday night, Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra's son Ashish Mishra was arrested by the UP police in connection with the October 3 violence.

Pawar also demanded the resignation of Union minister Ajay Mishra.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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