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After I-T search, it’s now turn of ED to search premises linked to former Minister and NCP MLA Hasan Mushrif

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Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday raided several premises linked to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and former Maharashtra Minister Hasan Mushrif in Kolhapur and Pune districts. The raids were reportedly as part of its investigation into alleged irregularities in the purchase of a cooperative sugar mill in the former district.  

Multiple teams conducted searches at Hasan Mushrif’s residence at Kagal in Kolhapur and a sugar mill allegedly associated with him, along with businesses and homes of his relatives in Pune and Kolhapur since 6 a.m. on Wednesday morning. 

In 2019, teams of the Income Tax Department had similarly raided Mushrif’s residences and factory premises. 

Terming the raids as “politically motivated,” Hasan Mushrif remarked, “Since morning, my home and those of my relatives, including my daughter, are being raided by ED. I appeal to my supporters to maintain peace. Some have announced a shutdown to protest the raids. I urge them to withdraw the bandh call and cooperate with the officials. Do not take the law into your hands.” 

“Similar raids were conducted against me and my kin in the past and documents were seized, but they (I-T department) found nothing against me. I don’t know why they have again conducted these raids. My public life of 30-35 years is transparent. The last raids did not lead to anything”, added Mushrif. 

Pointing out that Central agencies and leaders from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) first harassed his colleague in the NCP Nawab Malik while threatening Congress leader Aslam Shaikh, Mushrif, in a thinly veiled jibe at the BJP questioned whether it was targeting politicians from a particular community. 

Mushrif is the third NCP leader under the ED’s scanner, following Anil Deshmukh – who was recently released from jail – and Malik, who is still behind bars. 

Following the raids, BJP leader Kirit Somaiya, who has been the most vociferous in accusing Mushrif, said that the NCP leader’s “countdown had begun” while accusing ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray of attempting to save him in the past. 

It may be recalled that since 2021, Kirit Somaiya has been accusing Mushrif, a five-time MLA and an influential leader from Kolhapur, of being embroiled in a Rs. 127 crore money-laundering scandal as well of irregularities to the tune of Rs. 100 crores in a cooperative sugar factory owned by the NCP leader. Hasan Mushrif however has denied all the accusations.  

As the ED raids began a large crowd of supporters thronged at Mushrif’s residence, and raised slogans against Somaiya even as leaders from the opposition ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ (MVA) including the NCP, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction and the Congress condemned the ‘misuse’ of central agencies on the part of the BJP.

Leader of Opposition in Legislative Assembly, Ajit Pawar remarked, “No government ought to behave with malice against the opposition. While the ED, I-T CBI have the full right to investigate anyone, there is a strong suspicion in today’s scenario that what is taking place with these repeated raids is being done with a political objective.”  

Pawar further added, “Allegations were made against Anil Deshmukh, but no proof was given against him. The same thing occurred with (Sena (UBT) leader) Sanjay Raut.”

Calling Mushrif, a “fighter”, UBTSS faction leader Sanjay Raut expressed confidence stating that he was sure that the NCP leader would emerge unscathed from these raids.  

“This has been the norm for some time now, be it myself, Anil Deshmukh or Nawab Malik (who all were arrested by ED in separate cases) …some BJP leaders (referring to Kirit Somaiya) had talked about putting Mushrif behind bars. Such language was used against Lok Sabha MP Bhavana Gawli and Yeshwant Jadhav, who then moved to the ruling Chief Minister Eknath Shinde led BSS camp. Even Gawli has said that she got relief after joining the ruling party,” added Raut while criticising the BJP’s “pressure politics”. 

Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Nana Patole remarked that the BJP’s politics was “to create an atmosphere of terror and stifle the opposition. They ought to openly declare that they do not believe in democracy,” he added. 


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