Stung by a united show put up by the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies, the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party struck back with full force as many of its leaders slammed the ruling Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress alliance.
State BJP President Chandrakant Patil said the Constitution framed by Dr BR Ambedkar is not acceptable to Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, whose wife Varsha has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday regarding a probe.
"The central agencies are independent and the manner in which he (Raut) is linking it with the BJP is not appropriate," said Patil.
Defending the ED, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis countered that the central agency was misused most during the Congress rule at the Centre and not under this (BJP) government.
"Now, the probe agencies act only if there is a complaint or sufficient evidence against any person. I repeat if you are not guilty, then why are you scared?" Fadnavis shot back after Raut's outburst this afternoon.
Ex Minister Ashish Shelar took a swipe at Raut, saying "just one notice has rattled him so much, but if there's no wrong committed, they should not worry".
"Don't threaten us like this. We are not scared. By making such statements, they are trying to build pressure on the probe agencies," Shelar said.
Another leader Atul Bhatkalkar said that Raut is so shaken by the ED notice that he's talking nonsense and trying to mislead the people, "but we're not bothered about his threats".
BJP MP Narayan Rane and state spokesperson Keshav Upadhye wondered why Raut is "blabbering" before the media.
"If he feels the (ED) notice is issued wrongly, he should go and talk to the ED or challenge it in court," the duo said.
Mumbai BJP Spokesman Ramdas Kadam accused Raut of trying to mislead the people by making wild allegations, when all are expected to cooperate with probe agencies.
"The question is that the PMC Bank's depositors' monies have been misappropriated and they must get justice. If they (Raut) are honest, let it come out in a transparent investigation," Kadam remarked.
State BJP Vice-President Kirit Somaiya asked Raut why he was not replying to serious questions like 'what was his relationship with HDIL and Praveen Raut? Whether his family received Rs 54 lakh from HDIL out of the PMC Bank fraud money? Will he return the money which rightfully belongs to PMC Bank depositors?'
In a packed year-ender, the ED has summoned Varsha Raut on December 29, followed by senior NCP leader Eknath Khadse on December 30, besides the ongoing probes against another senior Sena leader Pratap Sarnaik and his family.
The series of ED notices to various leaders has ignited another full-scale war between the MVA and BJP, with the government-opposition relations already at an unprecedented low on various issues since the BJP was edged out and the 3-party MVA government took office in November 2019.
( With inputs from IANS )