Former Union Minister Sharad Pawar today slammed the BJP over the raids linked to nephew Ajit Pawar and what he described as the "misuse of power". His comments come a day after the tax department's searches in Mumbai, Pune, Satara and a few other cities in Maharashtra and Goa. The Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister yesterday said he was "saddened" that his sisters were also targeted in the raids.
"Some government guests were sent yesterday at Ajit Pawar's home. The guests came and went. We are not afraid of such guests," Mr Pawar, one of the tallest leaders in Maharashtra politics, said at an event.
"You can recall how I was sent a notice by the Enforcement Directorate before the state elections (in 2019)... even though I had never taken a loan from the bank and I had nothing to do with it. They gave me a notice and Maharashtra taught them a lesson," the 80-year-old leader said, taking a potshot at the BJP.
"The same thing is happening with Ajit Pawar and others now. People are witnessing the misuse of power," he added.
In a statement, Ajit Pawar on Thursday said the firms he is linked with "have been paying all their taxes on time". "There is no problem in that. Whether the I-T raids conducted are politically motivated or due to information their department requires, that can only be answered by the income tax department. I do not want to comment on the raids conducted at the companies of my associates because I too am a citizen," he said.
"I am saddened by one thing... my sisters have been married for 35-40 years and have been happily settled. But now the homes of my three sisters - one in Kolhapur and two in Pune have been raided," he added.
Sharad Pawar had claimed yesterday that the raids were a response to his comments on the violence in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur, where eight people, including four farmers, had died on Sunday. Union Minister Ajay Mishra's son, Ashish, is the main accused in the case, who the farmers allege, ran over a group of protesters.
"I have strongly condemned the UP (Lakhimpur Kheri) incident, where farmers were killed. I even compared it to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Also, the state government has condemned it in its cabinet meeting... It cannot be ruled out that the I-T department's action against various firms in the state is a reaction to our strong condemnation of the UP incident," Mr Pawar had said.
(With inputs from PTI)