Former Bharatiya Janata Party MP Kirit Somaiya on Monday claimed he was stopped by the police at Karad in Maharashtra while he was on way to Kolhapur, after the district authorities cited law and order as well as security concerns following his allegations of corruption against Maharashtra Rural Development Minister Hasan Mushrif.
After being stopped, Somaiya addressed a press conference in Karad, alleging that attempts were made by the Mumbai police on Sunday night to prevent him from boarding a Kolhapur-bound train and he was also jostled.
The BJP leader also said he would soon go to Kagal in Kolhapur, the assembly constituency represented by Mushrif, and file a police complaint against the minister over alleged irregularities committed by him.
Reacting to the episode, the ruling Shiv Sena alleged that the BJP was trying destablise the Maharashtra government, while BJP state chief Chandrakant Patil claimed that there was misuse of power and accused state ministers of indulging in corruption.
A few days ago, Somaiya had accused Mushrif of indulging in corruption and holding 'benami' entities in the name of his kin, allegations dismissed as baseless by the latter.
Somaiya, who boarded the Mahalaxmi Express in Mumbai on Sunday night to go to Kolhapur, in a tweet on Monday morning said, "The police stopped me at Karad under prohibitory order."
Kolhapur Superintendent of Police Shailesh Balkawde told PTI that a team of the district police reached Karad, and Somaiya was stopped at Karad railway station and served a copy of the (prohibitory) order.
"After we told him that he was prohibited from entering the district, he cooperated and will now return after addressing a press conference in Karad," the official said.
Somaiya on Sunday displayed an order from Kolhapur collector Rahul Rekhawar that said the former had been prohibited from entering the district under Section 144 of the IPC 'in view of the threat to his life and possibility of law and order situation due to his visit.'
The order also said the police would be occupied with Ganpati immersions and it would not be possible to provide security to Somaiya.
Senior inspector Sunil Kamble of Navghar police station in Mumbai had also issued a notice to Somaiya, asking him to follow the Kolhapur administration's order. Somaiya's residence at Mulund in Mumbai falls within the jurisdiction of Navghar police station.
Somaiya had called the development as the 'dadagiri' of the Uddhav Thackeray government.
On Monday, talking to reporters in Karad, Somaiya claimed that police had tried to prevent him from boarding the Kolhapur-bound train at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in south Mumbai on Sunday night.
He also claimed that the area outside the CSMT was cordoned off and he was jostled. "I was stopped outside the CSMT to ensure I miss the train," the BJP leader said.
He also accused the Mumbai police of forgery, saying they had handed him over an order by the Kolhapur district administration stating that he should not be allowed to leave Mumbai.
"When I was given a copy of the order by the Kolhapur police today morning at Karad, there was no mention that I should not be allowed to go out of Mumbai," he said.
Somaiya said he would move court against his 'illegal detention' and the order issued in Mumbai.
He said the Kolhapur district administration's order talks about a threat perception to him if he goes there.
"Is it that since I registered a complaint against Mushrif? There was a plan to attack me," he alleged.
The BJP leader said he has already approached the Income Tax department, the Enforcement Directorate, and the cooperation ministry with a 2,700-page complaint against Mushrif.
"Based on my complaint, an inquiry has already been started. The ED has sought additional information from me and I will give that information to them," he said.
Somaiya asked Mushrif how Rs 127 crore allegedly got transferred to his company through money laundering.
He also alleged that Rs 98 crore was transferred to the Sar Senapati Santaji Ghorpade Sugar Factory Limited (in which Mushrif's family members are directors) through 'bogus' firms.
He also accused Mushrif of committing a scam worth Rs 100 crore in the Appasaheb Gadhinglaj Cooperative Sugar Mill, claiming the money was transferred through some shell companies from Kolkata, and said he would submit documents related to the sugar mill to the ED.
Somaiya claimed that last year, the sugar mill was handed over to a private firm, which does not have any prior experience of running a sugar mill, without any transparent bidding process.
He also alleged that Mushrif's son-in-law was the 'benami' owner of the private firm.
"Whatever money Mushrif earned through corrupt means after he became the minister, he parked that money here (in the sugar mills ). So, we demand a probe into these scams," he added.
Meanwhile, talking to reporters in Mumbai, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut alleged that the Opposition BJP was trying to destablise the Maha Vikas Aghadi (comprising the Sena, NCP and Congress) government in Maharashtra and "malign the state on the Centre's directives."
He said the home department's action of preventing Somaiya from entering Kolhapur was taken to maintain law and order.
"I spoke to CM Uddhav Thackeray and he said the chief minister's office has nothing to do with it," the Rajya Sabha member said, and asserted that there was no vendetta politics involved.
"Don't call the Kirit Somaiya episode as drama. In Maharashtra, drama and theatre have a lot of respect among people. There is no need to target the chief minister on this issue. A chief minister doesn't get involved in such petty issues," he said.
He claimed that non-BJP leaders were being pressured with the fear of arrest and attachment of properties.
State minister Hasan Mushrif has taken up the challenge and hence, these developments was seen, Raut said, adding that 'mere allegations don't not affect the MVA.'
Raut further said even the Modi government (at the Centre) is facing allegations of selling off national assets.
"If you have to make allegations, state agencies like the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) and state police will investigate without bias," he said.
Raut said the truth in allegations will be decided by courts, but attempts to destablise the government will not work.
However, BJP state president Chandrakant Patil claimed there was misuse of power and said Mushrif should reply to the ED about the money transfer to a sugar factory.
What was the need to issue an order prohibiting Somaiya's entry to Kolhapur, he sought to know.
If, according to Kolhapur collector, there was a threat to Somaiya in the western Maharashtra district, they should have done something to thwart it, Patil told reporters in Pune.
He claimed the MVA ministers have no co-ordination among themselves.
"Is this the way the government is being run? The home department is taking some decisions, the CM does not know. When the MVA government was formed, I had advised Uddhav Thackeray not give the home ministry to the Nationalist Congress Party," he said.
He accused the MVA ministers of being 'seeped into corruption' and said they were not worried that their 'misdeeds' can be challenged in court.
"Fight a legal battle, instead of a panic reaction. If supporters of Mushrif throw a single stone on Somaiya, that will prove costly to you (state government)," he said.
Asked if the Shiv Sena and the NCP leaders were on the BJP's radar, Patil said his party was focussing on issues like 'injustice' being faced by the common man and atrocities against women.
"In some days, irregularities of two Congress ministers will be exposed," he claimed, without taking any names.
Lauding senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis, Patil said he remained the chief minister for five years despite troubles from the Shiv Sena.
"That time also, the NCP and the Congress tried to come together with the Shiv Sena," he claimed.