BJP leader Kirit Somaiya on Tuesday claimed that he never misappropriated even “57 paise” in his political life even as he rejected Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut’s allegation that he had amassed Rs 57 crore in the name of conserving the decommissioned aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.
The former MP was speaking to reporters outside the office of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) in south Mumbai where he arrived at 11 AM for recording his statement in the cheating case on the second consecutive day.
“Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray via Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut falsely accused me of amassing Rs 57 crore in the name of conserving the decommissioned naval ship Vikrant. In my entire political life, I never amassed or misused even 57 paise illegally but now I am being falsely accused by the Shiv Sena,” said Somaiya.
On Monday, EOW officials had quizzed Somaiya for three hours in connection with the INS Vikrant funds misappropriation case.
Speaking about the probe, Somaiya said, “I have given the information related to the funds raised under the ‘Save Vikrant’ initiative to police officials concerned. The information is already in the public domain but as a part of the probe, I have produced it before them”.
Based on a complaint lodged by an ex-serviceman, the Trombay police on April 7 registered an FIR against Kirit Somaiya and his son Neil Somaiya for allegedly misappropriating about Rs 57 crore collected through crowdfunding to save the decommissioned warship from being scrapped and converted into a museum.
The Bombay High Court had last week granted interim protection from arrest to Kirit Somaiya and asked him to “report to the investigation officer in the case for four days, beginning from April 18, between 11 am and 2 pm”.
“The real question that came up during the court hearing was the basis on which the figure of Rs 57 crore was arrived at by Sanjay Raut. What information does he have to quote the figure of Rs 57 crore? They will have to explain before the court,” Somaiya said.