Senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal’s arrest, and subsequent incarceration in the money laundering case, was fate’s revenge against him for his bid to put Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray behind bars, the Sena said on Tuesday.
The 70-year-old NCP leader was jailed in March 2016. He was granted bail on May 4 by the Bombay High Court after it took into consideration his old age and deteriorating health.
Mocking him, the Sena claimed that he desperately wanted to arrest Bal Thackeray around two decades ago when he was Maharashtra’s home minister.
Cases were filed against the late Sena supremo for giving speeches and writing editorials in the name of Hindutva, it said in an editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamana.
“Bhujbal’s imprisonment was the revenge taken against him by fate. He wanted to arrest Balasaheb by any means. Our ally (BJP) was in power at the Centre then and it had sent additional police forces from other states to prevent any law and order problem,” it said.
This proved that there has been a hidden alliance between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) since then, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party claimed.
It said Bhujbal was in jail for two years on money laundering charges, while former Union finance minister P.Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram, facing similar charges, came out on bail within eight days of his arrest (in March this year).
“Laws and power are often used to take political revenge,” the Marathi daily said.
Bhujbal, who handled the Public Works Department in the Congress-NCP government, was arrested in March 2016 after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) found that he allegedly misused his office in awarding contracts for PWD projects, causing a loss to the exchequer.
According to the ED, Bhujbal awarded contracts, including the one for the construction of a new Maharashtra Sadan – the state guest house – in Delhi to a private firm, allegedly in return for kickbacks for himself and his family.
The money was later channeled into shell companies with the help of his nephew Sameer Bhujbal.
Bhujbal started his political career with the Shiv Sena and was in the party for over two decades. He left the Sena in 1991 and joined the Congress. When Sharad Pawar split from Congress and formed NCP, Bhujbal went with him.View Realtime Updates