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Tuesday,26-October-2021

Maharashtra

Sanjay Raut’s wife skips ED summons, seeks more time

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In an anti-climax of sorts, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut’s wife Varsha Raut on Tuesday skipped the summons issued to her by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for appearance and questioning and sought more time.

“We have sought four more days. We have full respect for the central agencies,” Raut, who is Executive Editor of the Saamana Group of publications, told media persons.

A party official said that the Raut family reportedly asked the ED for time till January 5, even as Raut denied that his wife had received any notice.

“I have not seen the notice. It is not with me,” said Raut, though the opposition BJP leaders have claimed that the summons pertains to a Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank case and concerns transactions with the HDIL.

Contending that the ED notice is part of “political vendetta” of the BJP, Raut made it clear that he was “a lawmaker, a Rajya Sabha member” and would always respect the laws despite some people holding it hostage and managing to evade action.

Meanwhile, BJP state Vice-President Kirit Somaiya slammed the Rauts for the second day on the ED notice issue.

“This is the third of the EC summonses. Sanjay Raut’s family is not appearing before the ED. Why are they running away?” he asked.

He said that the ED is probing transactions of crores of rupees between the PMC Bank, HDIL, the Sanjay Raut family, and Pravin Raut’s family, and asked “what are the special relations between the two Raut families?”

Maharashtra

Rs 1000-crore ‘extorted’ from Bollywood in Mumbai, Maldives, claims Nawab Malik

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 In another sensational disclosure, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) national spokesperson and Minister Nawab Malik on Tuesday said at least an amount of Rs 1,000-crore has been ‘extorted’ in Mumbai and Maldives from Bollywood personalities.

Pointing the needle against the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede, Malik released a 4-pager purported letter he received from a whistleblower within the agency.

The Minister said he received the letter which has been copied to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, state Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil, Director-General of Police Sanjay Pandey, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and MP Rahul Gandhi.

“My fight is not against the NCB… They have done a good job in the past 35 years… I am fighting against a person who has extorted money from people…My estimate is over Rs 1,000-crore. The NCB has already started a probe and they must look into the points raised in the 4-page letter,” Malik demanded.

Reacting promptly to the purported letter, the NCB Deputy Director-General, South West Region Mutha Ashok Jain said: “I have seen the letter. We will take necessary action.”

Dismissing the charges by Wankhede and his family on the birth certificate which he revealed on Monday, Malik issued an “open challenge” to them to file any case or criminal defamation, he would face arrest and put the matter before the Courts.

Hitting back, a Bharatiya Janata Party activist Mohit (Kamboj) Bharatiya slammed Malik and said the 4-pager letter was a fake, even the affidavit submitted by a NCB ‘Panch-witness’ Prabhakar Sail was bogus and demanded the Minister’s immediate resignation for misusing his ministerial status.

“The Minister has been lying since day one… Sail’s affidavit was made at Malik’s behest… All this is done to malign the NCB and the BJP. I fear for my life and I demand security. I am filing a defamation case against him today,” Bharatiya told mediapersons.

Making another grave accusation, the Minister said that Wankhede has been illegally tapping the phones of two persons, one in Mumbai and another in Thane.

“I have their full details… and will disclose more at the appropriate time. How did the officer ask for the CDR details of my daughter Nilofer Malik from the Mumbai Police? Is she a criminal? The police have rejected Wankhede’s demands,” Malik said.

The Minister reiterated his charge that Wankhede has allegedly submitted a bogus caste certificate to get a central government job in a reserved category and vowed to bring out more dope on this.

“The BJP has been trying to portray it as a Hindu-Muslim fight… In my 45 years in public life, I have never played politics in the name of religion and the people know this well. But Wankhede has deprived a poor Dalit boy by grabbing his job in the reserved quota on the basis of fake documents,” said Malik.

The Minister further said that since his first expose in early-October, many people have been coming to him with information on the NCB, including a witness who said that the agency made him sign 50 blank papers.

On the contents of the 4-pager, Malik said that it has alleged details of about 26 different cases in which people have been deliberately framed by the agency, and how money was extorted.

“I am forwarding it to the NCB Vigilance Committee for proper investigations and hope the truth will come out,” he said.

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Maharashtra

Shiv Sena’s ill MP skips ED hearing, seeks fortnight’s time

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 Yavatmal-Washim Shiv Sena MP Bhavana Gawali skipped a hearing by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on grounds of ill health, here on Wednesday.

Instead, a team of her lawyers went to the ED and submitted a letter seeking another 15 days’ time to enable the MP to appear before the central probe agency.

Political sources said that Gawali – who was first summoned on October 4 but did not attend the ED office owing to prior commitments – is suffering from chickenpox and has sought more time to go and answer the ED’s queries.

The ED is probing allegations of money laundering indulged by Gawali and her associates for criminal conspiracy to fraudulently convert a trust into a private company.

Later, the ED arrested one of the aides Saeed Khan, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, and wants to quiz Gawali about her links with him and certain misappropriation of funds amounting to around Rs 25 crore.

While denying the allegations against her, Gawali has accused the ED of targeting her solely because she belongs to a state party, Shiv Sena.

The ED entered the picture after the Risod Police in Washim registered a complaint of cheating and criminal breach of trust against various persons including the trustees, and later the ED carried out multiple raids at her premises in Yavatmal, Washim, and Mumbai.

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Maharashtra

Sena Minister to SC: Probe NCB, Aryan Khan’s ‘fundamental rights breach’

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In a significant development, a senior Shiv Sena leader urged the Supreme Court to order a probe by a sitting judge of the apex court into the affairs of Narcotics Control Bureau and violation of fundamental rights of Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan.

Making the plea under Article 32 of the Constitution, Kishore Tiwari, accorded the Minister of State (MoS) status, has urged Chief Justice N.V. Ramana’s ‘top priority’ intervention into the manner in which the ‘biased’ NCB is hounding film personalities, models and other celebs since the past nearly two years with ‘malafide motives’.

He said that under Article 32, the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice of India (CJI) are duty-bound to take cognisance of every matter pertaining to the fundamental rights violation, as guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution, which the NCB is flouting.

Referring to the Special NDPS Court (Mumbai) deferring the verdict in the bail plea of Aryan Khan and other accused till October 20 citing public holidays, the plea said this has subjected the accused “to big humiliation and kept in jail in an undemocratic and illegal way” for 17 nights.

This is in utter disregard to the fundamental Right to Life and Liberty as enshrined in the Constitution and the question of ‘bail is the norm, jail is the exception’, which has been upheld and settled by SC many times, as reiterated by former Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi.

Accusing the NCB and its officials of ‘vendetta’ by targeting select celebs, Tiwari demanded a probe into the role of the central narcotics agency and the Mumbai Zonal Director (Sameer Wankhede), whose wife is a well-known Marathi filmstar, in direct competition with the other stars and celebs being hounded.

Pointing a needle of suspicion at Wankhede, the plea said the officer’s wife is trying to make big in Bollywood, and that’s why only leading names in the film industry, their families, national-international models, producers-directors are brought under the NCB lens.

“Starting with the probe into the Sushant Singh Rajput death case, the probe has been ‘totally diverted in an unrelated direction’ … The alleged NCB seizures are ‘miniscule jokes’ compared to the Mumbai Police achievements, or the DRI which last month seized 3000-kgs drugs from Mundra Port in Gujarat,” Tiwari said in the plea.

When the law has been settled by the highest court of the country, the NCB and the Special NDPS Court have “failed to give due regards” by depriving Aryan Khan and others bail, which could be done right away, even on public holidays, and thus there is ‘total miscarriage of justice’.

“With the recent shocking exposure on NCB by Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik, its high time the NCB Mumbai and all-India must be probed by an SC judge to unravel the rackets and the truth…It’s a fit case for immediate intervention by the SC,” Tiwari demanded, among other things.

Contending the NCB’s grudge and autocratic style are even more glaring, the Sena leader added that no contraband drugs were recovered from Aryan Khan, there was no medical examination proving consumption, etc., yet he has been shunted into different types of custody since October 3, echoing former Attorney General of India Rohatgi.

After the NCB swooped on a luxury cruise ship to bust an alleged rave party on October 2, Aryan Khan, along with 7 others were detained, arrested on October 3 and have remained in NCB and judicial custody since for the past 17 days, with their bail order likely be delivered by Special Judge V.V. Patil on Wednesday (October 20).

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