ED targeted Sena MLA for his stand in Naik suicide case: Raut

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(Eds: Adding quotes) Mumbai, Nov 24 (PTI) The Shiv Sena on Tuesday termed the ED's raids on properties of party MLA Pratap Sarnaik as 'political vendetta' for taking a firm stand against a 'television channel' and in architect Anvay Naik suicide case.

Talking to reporters here, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, without naming the BJP, said it should forget the dream of coming to power in Maharashtra for the next 25 years, 'no matter how much pressure it exerts or spreads terror through agencies'.

'The Maharashtra government or its leaders will not surrender to pressure from anyone,' he said.

Earlier in the day, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raided various premises linked to Sarnaik in Mumbai and neighbouring Thane in connection with a money laundering case, official sources said.

In evening, Pratap Sarnaik met Raut.

Raut said Sarnaik told him that he had no idea about the case in which action has been initiated by the ED.

'If you have begun today, we know how to end it,' the Sena's chief spokesperson said.

'Sarnaik took a firm stand in connection with a channel and in the Anvay Naik suicide case. Hence, such suppressive action...the entire Shiv Sena is with Sarnaik. The ED's action is a political matter,' Raut added.

Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami is an accused in the abetment of suicide case of Anvay Naik, an interior desisgner who had killed himself over alleged non- payment of dues by Republic TV for his work in 2018.

Sarnaik was in news when he wrote a letter seeking re-opening of the abetment to suicide case. Goswami was recently arrested by Raigad Police in the case. He is now out on bail.

Sarnaik had also demanded a unanimous resolution in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for legal action against actress Kangana Ranaut, who, he said, has 'maligned' the image of Maharashtra and Mumbai through her tweets.

'This action is definitely a political vendetta. The ED or other agencies should not work as a branch of a political party,' Raut said.

He said Sarnaik's properties were raided while the latter was not at home, and added that no matter how many notices are issued, only truth shall prevail in Maharashtra.

Raut also said there was no ban on investigation by any agency and it can take action if there is evidence.

'But, you want to mentally harass the people related to the (state) government. These actions will backfire on you.

And I think that time is nearing,' Raut said.

The Sena, which was earlier a long-term ally of the BJP before a bitter fallout last year on the issue of sharing the CM's post, is in power in Maharashtra along with the NCP and Congress.

'Be it the CBI or ED, our government, MLAs and leaders will not surrender to anyone no matter what. We will keep fighting,' Raut said.

Those who are trying to use (Central) agencies as a pressure tactic or want to demoralise MLAs, should keep in mind that 'this is Maharashtra of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj', he said.

The Sena will not be scared if the ED sets up its office outside the residences of each of the party's MLAs, MPs and leaders, Raut said.

Raut said he can send to the ED a list of 100 people of 'a party whose orders the agency is taking' about their businesses and how their money-laundering is going on.

The Sena 'won't care' if the central probe agencies, judiciary and law are going to behave as if 'slaves or servants' of those in power, he said.

'No matter how many notices you send, raids you conduct, create fake documents and evidence, but in Maharashtra and in the case of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), only truth shall prevail. The motto of 'Satyamev Jayate' can win only in Maharashtra,' Raut said.

Asked about the notice issued by the ED to NCP chief Sharad Pawar last year, Raut said the federal agency may have opened its branch in the BJP's office. PTI ENM GK NSK NSK