The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on January 11 carried out raids at several premises linked with former Maharashtra Minister and NCP MLA Hasan Mushrif as part of the investigation into the alleged irregularities of funds in the purchase of a cooperative sugar mill in Kolhapur.
As multiple teams of ED conducted searches at his residence and a sugar mill associated with him, NCP leader Mushrif in a video statement, alleged that this was being done with a political motive.
Mushrif, 68, is an NCP MLA from the Kagal, Kolhapur. He is also the vice president of NCP.
“Since morning, my home and the homes of my relatives, including my daughter, are being raided by ED. I am away for work and have learnt about this from television. My appeal to my supporters is to maintain peace. Some have announced a bandh to protest the raids. My appeal is that they should withdraw the bandh call and cooperate with the officials. Do not take the law into your hands,” said Mushrif.
Last year, in 2022, BJP leader Kirit Somaiya filed a complaint against the NCP leader with the ED. Somaiya had accused Mushrif of Rs 100 crore corruption in the Appasaheb Nalawade sugar mill in Kolhapur through a private firm allegedly owned and controlled by one of his relatives.
Somaiya alleged that the sugar mill was taken over by Brics India Private Limited (BIPL) in which Mateem Hasin Mangoli, Mushrif’s relative, was the owner, and no process was followed by Mushrif and others while awarding the bid to Brics India Pvt ltd.
In another complaint, Kirit Somaiya alleged that Mushrif was involved in the illegal diversion and money laundering of Rs 127 crore from another mill, named Sar Senapati Santaji Ghorpade sugar mill.
“We have seen in the country that 90-95 per cent of the ED raids are conducted on leaders from Opposition parties. This trend is also there in Maharashtra, where Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis himself said that they have an ‘ED Sarkar’ at the helm. ‘ED Sarkar’ means “Eknath and Devendra Sarkar,” said NCP MP Supriya Sule.
Supriya Sule further said though she has not spoken to Mushrif yet, but he will cooperate with the ED. “The guests are at his home… I am sure he will extend full cooperation to them,” she said.
Supporting the NCP leader, Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut said the raid at Mushrif’s residence highlights the way the Government is misusing the investigating agencies to target the opposition leaders. “Earlier, Anil Deshmukh, Nawab Malik and myself were targetted by the government. And, now they are conducting raids on the NCP leader. All this reflects the misuse of power and attempts to muzzle the voices of the opposition leaders,” he said.
It is to be noted that Nawab Malik, also a former minister, was arrested in February 2022 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) by the ED in a probe linked to the activities of fugitive gangster and accused of 1993 Mumbai blasts Dawood Ibrahim.
Another NCP leader and former Maharashtra Home Minister, Anil Deshmukh, was also in jail in a money laundering case. He was released from jail on December 28, 2022.
Earlier in march 2021, Param Bir Singh had claimed in a letter to former Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray that Deshmukh, the then home minister in the Maha Vikas Aghadi Government, used to ask police officers to collect money from restaurant and bar owners in Mumbai.