Mumbai: In a brutal attack, Shiv Sena (UBT) President Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday accused the central probe agencies of being “dacoits” who take “contracts” from the Centre to hound political opponents.
“What are these central agencies? They are just like dacoits. They behave like the ‘pet animals’ of the Centre. They take ‘contracts’ (supari) to go and target whoever they are told to. People are now wondering why these federal probe agencies should not be shut down,” an irate Thackeray asked.
He was speaking while giving a warm welcome to party MP Sanjay Raut, who was released after 101 days’ incarceration in an alleged money-laundering case slapped by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), at his private residence ‘Matoshri’ here.
Referring to the Special PMLA Court verdict which termed Raut’s arrest by the ED as “illegal”, Thackeray said that despite the order, the Centre may still try to trap him (Raut) in some other false cases.
“The court ruling is a warning for the Centre and all those (rebels) who left. The wheels of time keep changing, (Deputy Chief Minister) Devendra Fadnavis must realise that the times change, tomorrow it can catch up even with him,” warned Thackeray.
The Sena (UBT) chief also charged the Centre of attempting to hide behind the courts for pursuing its vindictive political agenda and called upon the masses to raise their voice against this.
“If the Centre had any shame or principles, this (Raut’s arrest) would never have happened in the first place. The whole country and the world are watching the conduct of the government and its misuse of the central probe bodies,” Thackeray said.
Earlier, Uddhav warmly received Raut at the doorstep of his home, his wife Rashmi performed a traditional welcome aaarti’, congratulated him and applied a ’tilak’, while a beaming Aditya Thackeray gripped Raut in a tight abear-hug’.
Flowers, garlands and sweets were distributed as several other party leaders clapped and cheered Raut who met the Thackeray family for the first time in over three months.
Thackeray magnanimously described Raut as “a true friend indeed, who can be relied upon till the end”, one who would never backstab or go back on his words, and said he was delighted to have him back in the field.
He said that despite all pressures and harassment, Raut did not get scared or “run away” (like the rebels), and stood by the party solidly.
Reciprocating Raut, who will also meet Natioanlist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar later, said that after a couple of days’ rest, he would embark on a tour of Maharashtra, meet the party activists and the common masses to listen to their grievances.
Others including Deputy Leader Sushma Andhare said the “tiger is Back”, national spokesperson Kishore Tiwari said now the “BJP is scared, and 2024 will see the BJP swept out by the UPA”, Congress’ Bhai Jagtap flayed the central agencies for being the “dogs” of the Centre of which nobody is scared, while NCP MLA Rohit Pawar (grand-nephew of Sharad Pawar) said “the tiger returns to prowl”.
On Thursday morning, Raut expressed his inability, due to health reasons, to join the Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra, currently passing through the state.
However, a high-level delegation from the Shiv Sena (UBT) comprising Aditya Thackeray and other senior leaders will march alongside Gandhi on Friday, according to a party leader.