Maharashtra cabinet minister Jayant Patil on Thursday claimed that the BJP was trying to defame NCP leaders, after the Income Tax department raided some businesses linked to family members of state Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and some real estate developers on charges of alleged tax evasion.
Searches are being conducted in Mumbai, Pune, Satara and a few other cities in Maharashtra and Goa, official sources said.
The premises linked to business groups such as DB Realty, Shivalik, Jarandeshwar Sahkari Sugar Karkhana (Jarandeshwar SSK) and businesses linked to Pawar's sisters are being covered under the ongoing operation, the sources said. Some documents have been recovered and are being studied, they said.
Talking to reporters in Pune, Patil, who is the also state NCP president, said, "I have been saying for a long time that BJP leaders take the names of our leaders and actions by ED, Income Tax, CBI follow. There is no doubt left that it has been the BJP's conspiracy to defame our leaders." He wondered why the BJP was so "afraid" of the NCP.
The Sharad Pawar-led NCP shares power with the Shiv Sena and Congress in Maharashtra.
On Wednesday, BJP leader and former MP Kirit Somaiya had visited the Jarandeshwar SSK in Satara and also Baramati town in Pune, from where Ajit Pawar is an MLA.
Ajit Pawar, who is also the state's finance minister, on Thursday said some entities linked to him were raided.
The NCP leader said he had no problem with the Income Tax department raiding companies linked to him, but he was upset that his three sisters were dragged into this.
The Jarandeshwar SSK was in news recently, after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in July attached over Rs 65 crore worth of land, building, plant and machinery of its sugar mill at Chimangaon-Koregaon in Satara under the anti-money laundering law.
The ED had claimed that the cooperative-run sugar mill was linked to Ajit Pawar and his family.