Politics of Revenge

ED's summon to MNS chief Raj Thackeray amid the ongoing CBI investigation of senior Congress leader P Chidambaram has sparked a debate whether the central government is using its investigation agency as a political tool or not

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With the ongoing investigation of former Home Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram in the INX media case, the nation is enrolled in a discussion that whether the central government is using its investigative agencies for political revenge or not. 

After Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) intensified its probe in the INX media case connected with Chidambaran, the opposition is labelling it as political vendetta. 

However, in Maharashtra politics, the current focus is majorly on the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) investigation of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray in connection with the Kohinoor building case. In fact, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray also came in support of his estranged cousin. 

Earlier on August 22, Thackeray visited ED’s office in Mumbai and was questioned for nearly nine hours after the central investigation agency summoned him. ED is probing the alleged irregularities in the loan and equity investment made by Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) in Kohinoor CTNL.

After the MNS chief was summoned by ED, it caused uneasiness throughout Maharashtra. Regardless of his political views, Thackeray is considered as a ‘charismatic’ leader in the state. After ED’s summon, Thackeray-led MNS had called for a ‘bandh’. 

However, the ‘bandh’ was cancelled and a silent protest outside ED’s office was organised after Raj Thackeray appealed to the party workers to not cause any inconvenience to the public. However, the MNS leaders including Sandeep Deshpande and Avinash Jadhav were detained by Mumbai police.

While calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi “Hitler”, MNS had earlier said that ED’s summon to Raj Thackeray is a “political vendetta”. Although Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis informed the media that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has no connection with it. 

However, Thackeray’s supporters aren’t willing to put their faith in CM’s remarks. Despite being grilled for nine hours, Thackeray said, “Inquire as much as you will but I won’t stop speaking”. During the 2019 Lok Sabha campaign, the MNS chief criticised PM Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah while asking people not to vote for the BJP. 

After ED’s summon, the whole opposition in Maharashtra came in support of Raj Thackeray and slammed BJP in the centre. Prior to this, the opposition on the national level also came together when Thackeray raised the issue of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and advocated for the use of ballot paper in the upcoming Maharashtra assembly elections. 

Thackeray had earlier met UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in this regard while demanding their support to carry out the anti-EVM campaign across the country.

The method of ‘witch-hunting’ opposition is not new and the abuse of investigative instruments by the ruling parties in Indian politics has been going on for several years. That’s why the likes of CBI, ED are called the arms of the ruling elite. In the current ruling BJP government, the same process is underway.

From P Chidambaram to Shashi Tharoor and Sanjeev Bhatt to Prannoy Roy, everyone who opposes the mighty BJP is under the radar of the investigation agencies. 


Note: This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. Mumbai Live neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.


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