- ED had on Tuesday attached assets linked to Sanjay Raut & his family in a PMLA probe
- Raut said MVA govt will order a probe against BJP leader Kirit Somaiya
- Sena & BJP have been at loggerheads ever since the former quit the NDA in 2019
A day after his assets were attached by the ED in a PMLA probe, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut has levelled serious allegations against Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kirit Somaiya. Ruat alleged that Somaiya siphoned off Rs 57 crore that was crowd-funded to 'save' INS Vikrant -- the country's first aircraft carrier.
Raut said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Amit Shah should see the INS Vikrant 'files'. He said that the BJP owes an explanation as to what Somaiya did with the collected money. He also demanded that Somaiya's security be removed.
"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," Raut 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.
Raut alleged that Somaiya is a CA who knows how to 'digest' such money. He demanded that central agencies should conduct an impartial probe into the matter.
Raut added that the Maharashtra government would investigate the misappropriation of the funds to "Save Vikrant".
Responding to Raut's charge, Somaiya said that the Sena leader is indulging only in 'time-pass' after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) took action against his wife and friends on Tuesday.
"He had hurled so many allegations against my wife, my family and myself. If he has any evidence against me then he should hand it over to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray," Somaiya said.
It may be recalled that after INS Vikrant was decommissioned in 1997, it was preserved as a museum till 2012. At that time Somaiya had offered to help out through a series of fund-raisers and crowd-funding drives.