A day after the Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai Police raided and attached properties owned by former Mumbai Congress chief Kripashankar Singh and his family, the Maharashtra government has withdrawn his security.
Mr Singh, who is alleged to have amassed assets worth over Rs. 300 crore, disproportionate to his known sources of income, had resigned from his post soon after the Bombay High Court ordered his prosecution for "criminal misconduct" under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Since then, he was untraceable. The tainted leader returned to Mumbai today.
In its February 22 order, the court had asked Mumbai Police to collect documentary evidence regarding all movable and immovable properties owned by Mr Singh and his family. The court had also ordered that the role of his family members be investigated. The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by activist Sanjay Tiwari, who alleged that the Congress MLA had amassed wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income.
Speaking to NDTV in Mumbai today, Mr Singh said, "A PIL alone cannot be used as the basis for levelling charges against me. Allegations against me have wrecked my career."
"I am not guilty. I am not absconding. I have done nothing wrong. I will fight as per law," he asserted. "The media targeting me and my family is wrong. I do not own those many properties as are being shown," he added.
Yesterday, 12 properties owned by Mr Singh and his family members were attached by the Mumbai Police. This after over 120 police personnel spread across the city and raided the premises. The attached properties include a duplex flat with terrace in Jupiter building in Vile Parle, Tarang bungalow, two flats, two offices and a plot in suburban Bandra, a shop at Bhandup and a shop and two flats including one he obtained through Chief Minister's quota in suburban Powai and a flat in Kurla. Only one of these properties in the metropolis is in the name of Mr Singh, the rest are owned by his wife, son, daughter and son-in-law.
The attachment of his properties at Panvel, Ratnagiri and Uttar Pradesh is likely to happen today. The raids are also said to be on for the second day. Sources say the Congress leader and his family members will be questioned after documents recovered during the raids are scrutinized.
During the searches conducted yesterday, Mr Singh's two BMWs were also seized. The police also found 400 live cartridges at his residence "Tarang", located in upmarket Bandra. The police are now trying to probe whether Mr Singh and his family have the necessary arms licences.
The once powerful Congress leader yesterday failed to secure from the Supreme Court an interim stay or quashing of the Bombay High Court order on his prosecution.
KRIPASHANKAR'S SON APOLOGISES
In a display of arrogance, while raids were on at tainted Mumbai Congress chief Kripashankar Singh's properties yesterday, his son Narendra Mohan flipped off mediapersons.
Today, he released a statement aplogising for the obscene gesture. "I regret the incident that took place. I am a responsible citizen and do respect freedom of press. My action though wrong, was a consequence of being under pressure at this juncture. I apologise to all media persons," the statement read.
Mr Singh also said, "What my son did was wrong and I apologise on his behalf."