by IANS |
Kolhapur, March 11 (IANS) For the second time in two months, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raided the home and other premises of senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Hasan Mushrif in connection with alleged irregularities in the purchase of a cooperative sugar mill, here on Saturday.
This is the second direct action against Mushrif after he was raided on Jan 11 by the ED at Kolhapur and Pune, besides his relatives and aides.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ex-MP Kirit Somaiya had levelled allegations against Mushrif, accusing him of Rs 100 crore irregularities in a cooperative sugar mill, and involvement in a money-laundering scam of Rs 127 crore.
An ED team swooped on Mushrif's home in a pre-dawn operation amid tight security and carried out searches inside his home in Kagal.
However, Mushrif has steadfastly denied all allegations and said that the agency's raids are a political move by the ruling BJP at the centre and had even raised questions whether people of a 'particular community' are being systematically hounded.
Somaiya has also claimed that Mushrif had allegedly grabbed control of the Appasaheb Nalawade Gadhinglaj Cooperative Sugar Mill Ltd, there were huge payoffs and money-laundering of massive amounts through murky transactions which benefited him, his family or associates.
Soon after the raids started early this morning, angry NCP activists, including a large number of women, gathered outside Mushrif's home and staged vociferous protests, raised slogans against the BJP, the government and the probe agencies.
Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) leaders like state Congress President Nana Patole, Chief Spokesperson Atul Londhe, Shiv Sena (UBT) National Spokesperson Kishore Tiwari and others slammed the BJP for pursuing fear politics, vendetta and misusing the central probe agencies to hound political opponents.
Mushrif, a 5-term MLA from Kagal, is a close confidante of NCP President Sharad Pawar, and served as a minister for several years in the Democratic Front and MVA governments.