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Political temperatures rise ahead of BMC polls as IT raids Sena corporator Yashwant Jadhav and MLA wife

BJP’s Kirit Somaiya accuses Yashwant Jadhav, kin of money laundering; Sena slams probes


Mumbai: Political temperatures have been on the rise ahead of the ensuing crucial elections to the Shiv Sena ruled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The Income Tax department on Friday conducted searches at the premises of Shiv Sena corporator Yashwant Jadhav and his wife, Sena MLA Yamini Jadhav in Mumbai on charges of tax evasion.

According to sources, several teams of officials from the I-T department conducted raids against Yashwant Jadhav, who is the standing committee chairman of the Sena ruled cash-rich BMC, Yamini Jadhav his wife and Shiv Sena MLA from the Byculla constituency and their close aides and other BMC contractors since early Friday. 

The raid on Yashwant Jadhav comes close on the heels of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) interrogation and arrest of Maharashtra Minister and senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Nawab Malik.  

The move assumes significance ahead of the crucial BMC election which is slated to be held in a month. A ferocious sabre-rattling between the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition of the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has already begun.  

Speaking in New Delhi, BJP leader Dr Kirit Somaiya alleged that Yashwant Jadhav and his kin had been involved in several non-transparent financial transactions including money laundering and parking the ill-gotten BMC ‘scam money’ through shell companies to the tune of more than Rs. 30 crores.  

The Sena bete noire alleged, “For instance, Rs.15 crore was parked into the Jadhav’s accounts through a shell company by the name of Pradhan Dealers Pvt Ltd by a Hawala Operator named Uday Shankar Mahavar. Part of this money was sent to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The I-T department has thoroughly documented the cash trail and we have been following it up as well.”

Dr Kirit Somaiya further added that he has already complained to the ED and the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) authorities in this regard. He further added, “We are confident that these agencies, too, will probe the Jadhav family soon.”

Dr Kirit Somaiya further accused Mahavar of being an ‘operator’ for the Gandhi family and warned that he would be filing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) soon in the High Court regarding the case of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s 19 bungalows which allegedly involved dubious transactions. 

He further remarked, “Of the ‘Dirty Dozen’ scamsters list of the Thackeray-led MVA that I had put out yesterday, two were missing – Yashwant Jadhav and his family, and Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar. Rest assured, the guilty shall be probed thoroughly and brought to account.” 

The three MVA parties – Sena, NCP and the Congress have been accusing the BJP-led Centre of unleashing central agencies and “framing” the MVA leadership ahead of the civic elections. 

Meanwhile, the I-T probe into the dealings of the Jadhav kin are not all of a sudden out of the blue. In August last year, an I-T probe into Yamini Jadhav’s election affidavit had called it “erroneous” while referring specifically to the dubious dealings involved in a Rs. one crore loan taken by her.  

The Shiv Sena came out in support of Yashwant Jadhav, with Sena leaders Sanjay Raut and Kishori Pednekar slamming the raids as yet another chapter in the ongoing harassment of non-BJP parties by the BJP-led Centre.  

Commenting on the I-T searches, senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut remarked, “Municipal elections are due within a month, and this process of raids will begin. These agencies will even raid ordinary staffers of the BMC if they feel like it…they will file false cases and conjure up false evidence.” 

Kishori Pednekar, who tried to visit the Jadhav kin in a show solidarity, said that the Shiv Sena was “like a family” and that she had come to “restrain Shiv Sainiks” who could behave in an untoward manner if they felt their leaders were being wrongly targeted. 

“The whole of Maharashtra is seeing the manner in which the BJP is misusing agencies. And this is not just happening in Mumbai or Maharashtra but in West Bengal, in Jharkhand and in the Punjab…. this does not mean we will sit quietly. What is the BJP trying to say with all this? That only the Sena, the NCP and the Congress are corrupt and the BJP is ‘pure’?” remarked the Mumbai mayor. 

The Sena, which is fighting a critical battle to re-assert its supremacy over the BMC, has taken an aggressive stance against the BJP, more so, against its more vocal opponents like Dr Kirit Somaiya and Union Minister Narayan Rane. Earlier this week, a team of BMC officials had inspected a bungalow owned by Narayan Rane in upmarket locality of Juhu in north-west Mumbai for alleged violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms. 


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