'Invasion by Delhi,' Says Aaditya Thackeray as I-T Officials Search Premises of Aide

Income tax officials also searched locations associated with two more individuals with alleged connections to the Shiv Sena.

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Mumbai: Income tax department officials on Tuesday carried out searches across offices and homes of Shiv Sena office-bearer Rahul Kanal, who is a close aide of Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray.

Locations associated with Sadanand Kadam who is the brother of Shiv Sena leader Ramdas Kadam, and a Regional Transport Office position holder Bajrang Kharmate, who are allegedly linked to state transport minister Anil Parab, were also subjected to searches, Indian Express has reported.

Aaditya, who is son of Shiv Sena president and Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, dubbed the searches by the I-T department on Kanal as “invasion by Delhi” ahead of the elections to Mumbai’s powerful civic body, Brihanmumbai Corporation.

The latest searches come after I-T officials raided premises of Shiv Sena corporator Yashwant Jadhav in Mumbai on charges of tax evasion, on February 25.

The income tax department had claimed to have found Rs 130 crore worth of unaccounted properties with him and his wife along with evidence of hawala deals.

Jadhav is also the chairman of the BMC standing committee.

A tax official was quoted by Indian Express as having said that the search on Kanal was a “fallout” of its probe into the alleged hawala transactions by Jadhav.

Kanal is a member of BMC’s education committee and the Shirdi Saibaba Temple Trust.

PTI has reported that the I-T department has not yet offered details on what the searches yielded.

Sources told the news agency that taxmen searched a total of 20 premises of these people of which 12 are in Mumbai and the rest in Pune.

The action on Kharmate is part of the Enforcement Directorate’s probe on his alleged connection with Sachin Waze, currently in jail in connection with the ‘Antilia’ bomb scare case and the murder of Thane businessman Mansukh Hiran.

Jadhav came under the tax scanner over complaints of corruption in awarding of contracts from the BMC standing committee.

‘Scared of the MVA’

Aaditya alleged that the I-T “raids” showed the misuse of Central agencies by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

“Maharashtra in the past had witnessed invasion (by outsiders). This is an invasion by Delhi. As elections are approaching, the Centre, which is scared of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, has deployed Central probe agencies. Similar raids were conducted where the elections took place,” Aaditya told reporters.

He alleged that Central probe agencies have become “BJP’s poll campaign agencies”. Therefore, similar raids are being carried out in Maharashtra.

“But Maharashtra will neither be scared nor will it bow down (before Delhi),’ he said.

In addition, the Shiv Sena has filed a complaint alleging extortion against the Enforcement Directorate’s officials and one Jitendra Navlani with Maharashtra police, The Hindu has reported.

“Jitendra Navlani’s seven companies received crores of rupees from different companies, days after they were raided by Enforcement Directorate. The ED officials are involved in extorting money from companies after raiding them. When I spoke last time, people asked me about papers. Today, I present to you all the papers,” said Sena’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut.

MP of the Nationalist Congress Party, Shiv Sena’s ally in the MVA coalition government, Supriya Sule launched a veiled attack on BJP saying Central agencies are being misused against its political rivals, which does not suit the culture of Maharashtra and the rest of the country.

Without naming the BJP, Sule also said that the people who have consistently been opposing Emergency only are behaving similarly.

Central agencies are being misused against those who oppose them (the BJP). It is quite unfortunate, Sule said.

Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Council Pravin Darekar said that BJP leaders in Maharashtra are being harassed by the state government for trivial matters.

“He (Aaditya) has the freedom to level whatever allegations. It is rubbish to link every raid of Central probe agencies with BJP. Let the agencies do their job,” said the BJP leader.

(With PTI inputs)