Hundreds of NCP workers on Monday staged a protest outside the Enforcement Directorate’s office in south Mumbai against summons issued by it to state party president Jayant Patil in a money laundering case.
The protesters claimed the Centre and the ED were indulging in “political vendetta”.
Patil appeared before the ED here on Monday in a money laundering case linked to alleged financial irregularities in the now bankrupt financial services firm IL&FS, an official said.
The agency’s office is located close to the Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) office at Ballard Estate in south Mumbai. .
The protesters, wearing Gandhi caps and holding placards and banners, also carried a large size cut-out of NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
They shouted slogans against the Union government and the ED, accusing them of indulging in “political vendetta”.
Earlier, speaking to reporters before going to the ED’s office, Patil said, “I am part of the opposition and one needs to face such type of suffering. I never heard the name of the IL&FS in the past, but the ED officials have summoned me to appear before them. I will try to address their queries in the legal framework.”.
“I appeal to the party workers to maintain peace and allow the officials to do their work. I also ask party workers not to be afraid of it,” said Patil, a seven-term legislator who is former Maharashtra minister of home and finance.
Considering the crowd of Patil’s supporters, the Mumbai Police made elaborate security arrangements and placed barricades on the road leading to the ED’s office.
In February last year, the ED arrested former Maharashtra minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in connection with a probe linked to the activities of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his aides.
In November 2021, the ED arrested former state home minister and NCP leader Anil Deshmukh in another money laundering case.
Deshmukh is currently out on bail, while Malik is in judicial custody.