Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kirit Somaiya and his son Neil have been booked for allegedly siphoning off Rs 57 crore that was crowd-funded to 'save' INS Vikrant -- the country's first aircraft carrier.
The case against Somaiya and his son has been registered under IPC Section 420 (cheating and dishonesty including delivery of property) and 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust) and 34 (common intentions). The case was registered on the basis of a complaint filed by an ex-military officer.
As per the FIR, which was registered in the wee hours today, Somaiya collected the donation to save INS Vikrant but did not deposit it with the Maharashtra Raj Bhavan.
It may be recalled that after INS Vikrant was decommissioned in 1997, it was preserved as a museum till 2012. At that time Somaiya, BJP's former MP from Mumbai North-East, had offered to help out through a series of fund-raisers and crowd-funding drives.
On Wednesday, Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut accused Somaiya of siphoning off the money. "Somaiya had offered to help out with the fund-raisers and said the amount collected would be handed over to the Maharashtra Governor at Raj Bhavan. Finally, the Raj Bhavan has stated that no such money was received," he said.
According to Raut, the revelation has come out in an RTI reply submitted by Maharashtra Raj Bhavan to an activist Dhirendra Upadhyay in March. The activist had demanded details of the funds raised from the public, retired and serving defence personnel and officials in an attempt to save the decommissioned 'Vikrant' from the scrapyard in 2013-2014.