Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut's wife has been issued summons by the Enforcement Directorate on January 5 after she sought more time on Tuesday to appear for questioning in the PMC bank fraud case. Varsha Raut had been called in by the agency that investigates financial crimes on Sunday prompting a war of words between Maharashtra's ruling Shiv Sena and ally-turned-adversary BJP which governs at the centre.
"Harassing anti-BJP people seems to be the national duty of the ED. I pity the ED as it used to have some reputation earlier. Now nobody respects these organizations. It is tragic to see these organizations being ordered around," Sanjay Raut said on Tuesday.
Mr Raut has had on Monday alleged that central agencies were being used to "destabilise" the Uddhav Thackeray-led government in Maharashtra and claimed he had been warned by BJP leaders about the plan for over a year.
Mr Raut said BJP leaders had a list of 22 MLAs of the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) "who will be made to resign under the pressure of the central investigating agencies".
The Sharad Pawar-led NCP and the Congress are part of the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, which was formed in November 2019 after the Sena and the BJP fell out over sharing the post of chief minister following assembly elections.
"Some BJP leaders have been contacting me since the last one year, saying they have made all the arrangements to destabilise the Maharashtra government. They have been pressurising and threatening me not to support the government," Mr Raut said.
Mr Raut's wife Varsha Raut had been asked to meet officials at the Mumbai office of the Enforcement Directorate which is probing financial transactions between her and Pravin Raut, who is under arrest in the case, sources said. She had skipped the two earlier summons on health grounds.
The case dates back to last September when irregularities emerged in some loan accounts of the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank prompting the Reserve Bank of India to take control of it and cap withdrawals, leaving many of its 9 lakh depositors in deep crisis.
Mr Raut claimed he had a list of "120 BJP leaders who are fit case for a probe by the ED for money laundering".
"They will have to take flights out of the country like Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallaya," he said.
Saying his wife is a teacher, Mr Raut said unlike leaders of the BJP, "our income has not grown by Rs 1,600 crore".
"This politics is played out of frustration when you cannot fight your political opponents face to face. Shiv Sena will respond to this in an equal measure," Mr Raut said.
The Sena MP said he had been in regular touch with the ED since last month about a Rs 50 lakh loan taken by his wife 10 years ago from a friend to buy a house. He said all the details about the loan had already been given to the ED.
"We are middle-class people. My wife had taken a loan from a friend 10 years ago to purchase a house. Details have been given to the Income Tax (Department) and also mentioned in my Raya Sabha affidavit. The ED woke up to this deal after 10 years," he said.