Days after the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) collapsed following the revolt of Shiv Sena leaders, party MP Sanjay Raut on Saturday claimed that he was “given the offer” to go to Guwahati and join Eknath Shinde and other rebel MLAs.
However, Mr Raut said he turned down the offer as he follows the Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray.
The rebel MLAs staged their rebellion against the MVA government from Assam’s Guwahati. Following this, Uddhav Thackeray resigned from the chief minister’s post and then Eknath Shinde took over as the Maharashtra Chief Minister.
The new government has been asked to prove its majority in the State Assembly on Monday.
Speaking to the media, the Shiv Sena leader said, “I also got an offer for Guwahati but I follow Balasaheb Thackeray and so I didn’t go there. When the truth is on your side, why fear?”
Mr Raut further said that it is ‘difficult’ to associate former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as Deputy Chief Minister.
“Fadnavis won’t get CM seat from Central. Deputy CM word from my mouth did not suit him but it was their internal matter I won’t speak on this,” he said.
“BJP wants to destroy Shiv Sena from Mumbai and Maharashtra. But it did not happen,” he added.
Talking about the summons issued to him by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case, the Shiv Sena leader said, “As a responsible citizen and MP, it’s my duty to appear if an investigative agency (ED) summons me. The problem is with timing- amid Maharashtra political crisis but they had doubts. Their officials behaved well with me; told them that I can come again if need be.”
Mr Raut was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for about 10 hours on Friday in connection with a money-laundering probe.
He is being probed in connection with the re-development of Mumbai’s Patra Chawl.
Sanjay Raut arrived at the ED office located in south Mumbai around 11.30 am on Friday and left around 9.30 pm. The Shiv Sena leader, while leaving the ED office, said he would cooperate with the central agency.
He appeared before the central agency on Friday after it issued the second summons in the case to appear before July 1, after the leader failed to appear in his first summon on Monday due to the then political crisis in Maharashtra.
The Rajya Sabha MP was scheduled to appear for questioning on Tuesday. However, his lawyer had sought 13-14 days time to present the documents in front of the probe agency but the request was declined by the Agency.
In April this year, the ED had attached immovable properties worth Rs 11.15 crore, including a flat at Dadar, held by Sanjay Raut’s wife Varsha and eight land parcels at Kihim near Alibag, jointly held by the latter with Swapna Patkar, in connection with the redevelopment scam.
Swapna is the wife of Sujit Patkar, a close associate of the Sena leader.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)