Maha BJP's 'power laundry' whitewashes all leaders, tainted or taunted, with ease

Mumbai, Feb 4 (IANS): Several legislators and leaders, tainted or taunted with corruption allegations and investigations, belonging to the undivided Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party, who decided to either join the BJP or the ruling Mahayuti alliance, now rest in peace.

Pursued vigorously by different central or state probe agencies for years, these ‘defector’ leaders have finally found peace, and as one such turncoat leader unabashedly mentioned, “Sleep peacefully at night.”

Ironically, those who did not succumb to the temptation of defecting or deserting their own parties, are doing the rounds of investigation agencies’ offices and face cases.

Some were arrested and jailed for prolonged periods and generally remain on the probe agencies’ radars.

Some of the leaders who chose the easier path out of their predicaments include the breakaway NCP-AP leader Ajit Pawar, his colleagues Sunil Tatkare, Chhagan Bhujbal and Hasan Mushrif.

From the Shiv Sena led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde there are Bhawana Gawli, Vijaykumar Gavit, Tanaji Sawant, Sanjay Rathod, Abdul Sattar, Arjun Khotkar, Pratap Sarnaik, Yashwant Jadhav, plus the kin or aides of some other leaders.

Among those who did not take the easy way out are NCP-SP’s MLA Rohit R. Pawar, Anil Deshmukh, Nawab Malik, Eknath Khade, an ex-BJP strongman, besides the Shiv Sena-UBT’s Sanjay Raut, Anil Parab, Ravindra Waikar, Kishori Pednekar, Rajan Salvi, Suraj Chavan and more.

While Raut spent 100 days in jail, Deshmukh was behind bars for 13 months and Malik stepped out after 18 months – all granted bail in various cases they face.

Those targeted by political taunts include the NCP-SP’s President Sharad Pawar, Congress’ ex-Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, and even the non-political family members or in-laws of ex-CM and SS-UBT President Uddhav Thackeray, plus a few other leaders from the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA).

Incidentally, Shiv Sena’s Rathod and NCP-AP’s Dhananjay Munde, though not directly involved in corruption, had faced accusations involving women, one for the suspicious death and the other for alleged sexual harassment, though they rubbished the allegations and are now Ministers.

In fact, shaken by the probes and their political implications, some like Sarnaik had openly appealed to Thackeray (before the MVA Government was toppled in June 2022), to patch up with the BJP and avoid harassment by the probe agencies.

Today, after the split in Shiv Sena (June 2022) and NCP-AP (July 2023), most of their leaders are relaxed. They sleep peacefully at night and consort with the BJP in the day, as the investigation agencies have magically disappeared from their lives.

The cases that most of these leaders faced pertained to murky financial deals, mafia links, local bank scams, generating hush-funds through sale-purchases via shell companies, questionable trading/business activities, suspicious transactions of enterprises like sugar factories with black money deals, creating ‘benami’ assets, amassing huge wealth beyond their known sources of income, et al, with amounts ranging from a few lakh to crores of rupees.

The agencies involved in probing such ‘black files’ included the much-feared local police and their Economic Offences Wing, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (state level), and the dreaded Enforcement Directorate, Central Bureau of Investigation, Income Tax Department, and occasionally others like the Department of Revenue Intelligence, Narcotics Control Bureau of the National Investigation Agency.

In a majority of the instances, the probes were allegedly inspired by BJP leaders who lost power to the MVA in November 2019 or had personal/political axes to grind vis-à-vis their opponents. The state or central agencies willy-nilly played a stooge in their nefarious intentions.


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Title: Maha BJP's 'power laundry' whitewashes all leaders, tainted or taunted, with ease

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