The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi allies joined forces against the Bharatiya Janata Party at the Centre a day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) slapped summons on Varsha Raut, the wife of Shiv Sena Chief Spokesperson Sanjay Raut, in Mumbai on Monday.
The Nationalist Congress Party and Congress along with Sena leaders slammed the BJP for systematically targetting the Opposition leaders who dared to speak against the party or its policies.
Raut made a telling tweet, going back to a popular 1981 Bollywood song, "Aa dekhe zara, Kisme kitna hai dum; Jum ke rakhna kadam, Mere sathiyaan". (Let's see, who has the daring, Watch your steps, my friends).
While saying he didn't "care" about such a notice, Raut made it clear that if the ED was doing its work it should be legal, but if illegal, they (ED) should be more careful.
Denying that no ED notice was received, Raut took a swipe at the Opposition BJP -- "I have sent my man to the BJP office to pick up if the (ED) notice has been sent there When he returns, we shall know."
NCP leader and Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said the BJP at the Centre has been misusing central agencies like the ED and the CBI to create fear among the political opponents which is a regretful matter.
"Anyone who dares to speak against the BJP or its policies, gets targetted by the ED-CBI. We have never witnessed this type of politics ever before," Deshmukh said grimly.
Congress state President and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said ever since the BJP has taken over at the Centre, the central agencies are being deployed to target and browbeat the Opposition parties in such a manner, but the MVA government will not be cowed down by such political tactics.
Sena's Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray also commented on the ED notice "politics", while former Union Minister and NCP leader Prafull Patel said "ED notices need not be taken seriously now."
"There are many people who get ED notices without the involvement of such persons. Mere summons like this mean nothing. If someone is indeed guilty, it will emerge and even the politics behind it shall be known," Patel said.
Mumbai Guardian Minister Aslam Khan said before anybody speaks out against the BJP, "they should be prepared to get such notices from ED-CBI" which has become the norm in politics since the past few years under the BJP rule.
Signaling a busy year-ender, the ED has summoned Varsha Raut on December 29 followed by December 30 notice to senior NCP leader Eknath Khadse -- who quit the BJP last October, besides the ongoing probes against another senior Sena leader Pratap Sarnaik and his family.
Khadse has been called regarding a Pune land deal while Varsha Raut has to appear in a case pertaining to the PMC Bank.
From the BJP side, state leader Kirit Somaiya asked Raut to come clean if his family was a beneficiary in the PMC Bank scam.
"I heard about the ED notice to Sanjay Raut Family. Will Mr Raut tell us, is his family beneficiary? Whether earlier any inquiry, notices received? 10 lacs Depositors are sufferers. If ED wants any information Political Protection is not a healthy idea. All want revival of PMC Bank," Somaiya said in a tweet and video on social media late on Sunday.