The BJP today said investigation against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh was going on as per a Bombay High Court order and rejected suggestions that Enforcement Directorate (ED) searches at his premises were politically motivated.
The opposition party in the state also hit out at its former ally Shiv Sena, heading the ruling coalition in Maharashtra, for linking the ED action against the NCP leader with the BJP.
BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis said investigation against Mr Deshmukh was underway on direction of the high court and it was wrong to attribute political motive to the ED action against the former home minister.
The Enforcement Directorate today conducted searches at the premises of Deshmukh in Nagpur and Mumbai as part of a money laundering probe against him, officials said. The central probe agency had registered a criminal case under an anti-money laundering law against Mr Deshmukh and others last month after studying a CBI case.
Mr Fadnavis said: "All these inquiries are going on as per direction of the high court. There is no reason to find any political motive in them. We feel that agencies are working as directed by the HC."
Asked about NCP MP Supriya Sule's comments linking the ED searches to Emergency, Mr Fadnavis said she has no experience of the 1975-77 era characterised by press censorship and suspension of civil liberties.
"Supriya Sule has not seen Emergency as she was a child at that time...even I was a child. She has not experienced Emergency...but we have experienced Emergency. My father was in jail for 21 months without any charge, there were several others like him, lakhs of people. George Fernandes (socialist leader and former Union minister) had to sleep on ice slab. What do you know about Emergency? It is wrong to link a HC-directed investigation with Emergency," the former chief minister said.
To a query on Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut's demand for a CBI inquiry into the Ram temple land purchase deal, Mr Fadnavis said: "He does NCP's bidding. Does he have any right to speak about Ayodhya? Have you made any contribution towards Ayodhya?"
"It is we who fought for Ayodhya... and now after an SC order, the Ram temple is being constructed in Ayodhya," the Leader of Opposition in the assembly said.
Meanwhile, in Mumbai another BJP leader, Pravin Darekar, hit out at Raut for linking ED raids on Deshmukh with the BJP. The Leader of Opposition in the council said if Mr Deshmukh has not done anything wrong, he should not be afraid.
In a statement issued to the media, Pravin Darekar said: "Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut is wrongly suggesting that the ED searches were carried out on orders of the BJP. If Anil Deshmukh has done nothing (wrong), he should not be afraid."
"CBI officials carried out a raid on April 21 at the house of Anil Deshmukh in Nagpur. As he is under investigation, the ED also carried out raids at his residence in Mumbai. The more you try to politicise such routine procedures, the more Deshmukh and the MVA government would come under suspicion," he said.
The ED and other investigating agencies have carried out raids in the past as well, but nobody then linked those raids with the then government, he said.
"Is it appropriate to link such raids now with the BJP-led government at the Centre?" Mr Darekar said.
The ED raids were carried out under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and the locations include Mr Deshmukh's residence in Nagpur, officials said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)