Mumbai: It has been four days since Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on money laundering charges, but Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar is unusually calm and has yet to react. Pawar’s silence on the issue has been discussed in political circles, as his stand has always been that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government is misusing central agencies to harass its political opponents.

According to a report published in Hindustan Times, party leaders are divided over this unusual incident. A section of NCP leaders is of the view that Pawar is watching the situation and will speak at the right time, while some others said that he is treading carefully in the backdrop of the ED’s action against the Gandhi family.

Sharad Pawar’s silence has also given rise to speculations that the NCP may join hands with the BJP, as a faction in the party always wanted it to be. Notably in 2014, the NCP had declared unsolicited support to stabilize the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government in the state. However, Sharad Pawar had met the Prime Minister four months ago to complain against the ED’s action, when the central agency attached properties of Sanjay Raut and his family members in Mumbai.

NCP Chief Sharad Pawar knew what was going to happen to Sanjay Raut?

Hindustan Times quoted an NCP insider as saying, “Sharad Pawar had said during his meeting with the Prime Minister that opposition leaders should not be targeted for political vendetta. To this, the Prime Minister replied that no one will be targeted unnecessarily, but the law will take its own course. If someone has done something illegal then they will have to face action. Pawar also told Raut that this is what the Prime Minister has said and he (Sanjay Raut) will have to face action. It means he knew what was going to happen to Sanjay Raut.

NCP chief spokesperson Mahesh Taapsee said party leaders have already taken a stand on Sanjay Raut’s arrest. He said, ‘It was Sharad Pawar who directly went to meet PM Modi and complained that an opposition MP was being harassed for opposing the policies of the central government.

After Raut’s arrest, many NCP leaders in Maharashtra, including me, have openly expressed their opinion. We still believe that the ED’s action is to suppress the voice of Sanjay Raut, who is a big critic of BJP.

Pawar has raised the issue of misuse of central agencies after meeting the PM.

On 6 April in Parliament, after meeting Prime Minister Modi, Sharad Pawar had said that he raised the issue of Sanjay Raut being targeted by central agencies. After meeting the PM, the former Union Minister had said in a conversation with the media, ‘On what basis action was taken against Sanjay Raut? This is injustice. What was the reason? Just because he is making some statement and criticism does not mean that action should be taken against him. What was the need?’

Another NCP leader told Hindustan Times on condition of anonymity, “Sharad Pawar does not act in haste and takes time to express his opinion on an issue.” This time also he is doing the same. Another NCP functionary said, “There may be a possibility that he is watching the ED’s action against the Gandhi family and is busy making his plan before coming to the battlefield.” Because there is speculation that one of them may be arrested.

Ajit Pawar’s statement on Sanjay Raut’s arrest shocked everyone

Last Sunday, Leader of the Opposition and senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar had also surprised everyone by saying that only Sanjay Raut can tell people why the Enforcement Directorate is behind him. He had said that the central agencies have full power to investigate the cases, as they are independent in nature. Ajit Pawar told reporters in Beed, “Central agencies are independent authorities and they have powers to investigate cases, be it IT (Income Tax), CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation), ED or ACB of the state government. (Anti-Corruption Bureau), CID (Crime Investigation Department) etc. If they get any complaint then they have every right to investigate the matter. In this case, only (Sanjay) Raut sahib can tell us what has actually happened and why they (ED) are coming to him again and again.’

Tags: NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Sanjay Raut, Sharad pawar

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