MAHARASHTRA Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray was on Thursday grilled by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case, after he reached the agency’s office in south Mumbai with his family members in tow. The MNS leader reached the ED office at 11.25 AM and walked out at 8.15 PM. He did not respond to queries from waiting media personnel, folded his hands in greeting, got in his car and drove to his residence in Dadar area. There was not much perceptible change in his demeanour while entering and exiting the ED office after spending almost nine hours inside. ED officials had prepared a questionnaire for him to get a fair idea of the financial transactions, the official said. They allowed Raj to leave after recording his statement in the case, the official said.
There was no word from ED officials on whether he will be called again for questioning. When he reached the ED office, Raj was accompanied by wife Sharmila, son Amit and daughter in law Mitali. After Raj entered the office alone, his family members camped at a nearby hotel. The ED summoned Raj in a case pertaining to alleged irregularities related to Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services loan to Kohinoor CTNL.
Throughout the day-long developments, Mumbai remained calm and there were no incidents of violence. Police imposed Section 144 of CrPC (banning unlawful assembly) outside the ED office and in some parts of Dadar, where the MNS chief resides and parts of central Mumbai. The move was taken apprehending law and order problem, a police official said. “Raj has appealed his party workers not to throng outside the ED office but we don’t want to take any chances,” the official said.
MNS leader Sandeep Deshpande, wearing a tee shirt with ‘EDiot Hitler’ with a emblazoned on it, was taken into custody by police on Thursday morning. The tee shirt also had the Nazis’ principal symbol the hakenkreuz, ‘hooked-cross’ (which resembles the Swastika) printed on it. MNS workers Santosh Dhuri and Ravi More were detained from Mumbai and Thane respectively.