The Enforcement Directorate is carrying out raids in at least 15 locations in Mumbai and adjoining areas.
A personal assistant of Uddhav Thackeray's son Aaditya Thackeray and a "close associate" of his party leader Sanjay Raut were raided on Wednesday in connection with the alleged Rs 100-crore Covid centre scam, flagged by a senior BJP leader.
The Enforcement Directorate is carrying out raids in at least 15 locations in Mumbai and adjoining areas, including the properties of some officials from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The alleged scam concerns the BMC awarding contracts for managing jumbo Covid centres to businessman Sujit Patkar's Lifeline Hospital Management Services.
Senior BJP leader Kirit Somaiya had filed a complaint and alleged that the contracts were awarded to Mr Patkar and his three partners despite them having no experience in running such centres. Mr Patkar is said to be a close associate of Shiv Sena (UBT) Member of Parliament Sanjay Raut.
The Chembur residence of Suraj Chavan, who is a personal assistant of Mr Thackeray, is also being raided. On finding out about the raid, Shiv Sena workers reached the spot and began raising slogans against the ED and Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
The raids come two days after Mr Shinde had ordered a probe by a special investigation team into alleged irregularities of over Rs 12,000 crore in work undertaken by the BMC. The irregularities had come to light after a Comptroller and Auditor General report.
In a video message, Mr Somaiya said, "I have found out from media reports that the properties owned by the company of Sanjay Raut's partner Sujit Patkar and those of Mr Patkar's partners are being raided in connection with the Rs 100-crore Covid centre scam. Hisab to dena hi hoga (an account will need to be given)."
Asked about the raids, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said in Marathi, "I am not aware what proceedings are on. A scam has come to the fore regarding the Covid centres built by the BMC. Shocking information that is coming in points to the centres being run by companies with no experience. They have played with people's lives."
"I believe raids must be on against people connected to the scam," he added when he was asked specifically about Mr Chavan.
On June 12, Mr Raut had filed a criminal defamation complaint against Mr Somaiya in a court in Mumbai for allegedly posting defamatory tweets against him since 2022.