Listing the names of leaders from the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance in Maharashtra, NCP chief and former union minister Sharad Pawar today said the “best example” of how central probe agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate can be “misused” is the arrest of NCP’s Anil Deshmukh, Shiv Sena (Uddhav) leader Sanjay Raut and others with them.
“I will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to prevent anyone going through a similar situation in the future,” he added.
He was speaking a day after the release of Anil Deshmukh, a former minister in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government that was ousted in June in a Shiv Sena mutiny backed by the BJP.
“The court has clearly said in its order that there is no evidence against Anil Deshmukh,” Mr Pawar told reporters, according to news agency ANI.
“There has been an abuse of power; and a dutiful and cultured person has been put in jail for almost 13 months… But the Prime Minister and Home Minister should think about the people who have created this situation,” the NCP chief said. “After gathering some more information about the agencies involved in this case, I and some of my colleagues will meet the Prime Minister and the Home Minister and talk about it.”
Mr Deshmukh walked out on bail after a year in jail as an accused in a corruption case. Mr Pawar’s daughter and party MP Supriya Sule was among leaders who accompanied the 72-year-old to the Siddhivinayak Temple in an open-top jeep before he went home.
Earlier this year, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut spent over three months in jail in a money laundering case filed by the ED, until he got bail in November. The court had sharply rebuked the ED for arresting him “illegally” with a “pick-and-choose attitude”.
While Mr Deshmukh is accused of extortion, Sanjay Raut is named in an alleged scam in a housing scheme. Both have said it’s political vendetta by the Centre’s ruling BJP.
“Misuse of central agencies”, such as the ED and CBI, is a charge levelled against the BJP by leaders across the Opposition spectrum, from Maharashtra to Jharkhand to Delhi, among other states.
Mr Deshmukh had got bail in the main corruption case filed by the CBI from the Bombay High Court on December 12, but the order was halted for 10 days as the agency sought time to go to the Supreme Court. The court, however, will hear the CBI appeal only in January, after the winter vacation.
Earlier, the top court refused to interfere with the bail granted to him by the High Court in a money laundering case filed by the ED. The ED had arrested him in November 2021.
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