Days after the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party levelled allegations of corruption against some leaders of the Uddhav Thackeray-led government in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena member of Parliament Sanjay Raut on Monday said his party should not be threatened with the use of central agencies and claimed that "three and a half" leaders of BJP will be behind bars in the next few days.
Raut told reporters that he will disclose the names of the BJP leaders on Tuesday during a press conference at the Shiv Sena headquarters in Mumbai, where key party leaders will be present.
He also claimed that former state home minister Anil Deshmukh, arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in a money-laundering case in November last year, will be out of jail soon.
The BJP has in the past levelled allegations of corruption against leaders of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (comprising the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress) government in Maharashtra.
Raut said answers will be given to all the false allegations made against the Shiv Sena and the Thackeray family, and "dadagiri” (bullying conduct) of the central agencies.
”Don't threaten us with the use of central agencies. We are not going to get scared. Do whatever you want, I can't be scared off,” he said.
”They keep saying this or that a leader will go jail, next to the lockup of Anil Deshmukh. I think three-and-half people from the BJP will be in Anil Deshmukh's lockup in the next few days and Deshmukh will be out,” Raut claimed.
”They” have lost sleep over it, the parliamentarian said, adding that everyone knows what he is talking about.
Speaking to reporters outside Shiv Sena Bhavan in Mumbai later, Raut said Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray will keep a close eye on Tuesday's press conference.
The Rajya Sabha member also said that the BJP and chiefs of central agencies ”must watch” his press conference.
”Tomorrow they will know what Maharashtra is -- Shiv Sena means Maharashtra. The Shiv Sena is the voice of the 11 crore people of Maharashtra,” he added.
Raut accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of defaming Maharashtra and alleged that BJP leaders from the state still kept quiet.
The Shiv Sena MP did not specify PM Modi's comments, which he claimed "defamed" Maharashtra.
The prime minister had said in Lok Sabha that Congress has "crossed all limits" during the Covid pandemic.
During the first wave, when people were following lockdowns and Covid norms, the Congress was standing at Mumbai Station and scaring innocent labourers into fleeing to their native states, Modi had said.
”Maharashtra will fight injustice and falsehood,” Raut said.
Raut had last week claimed he was approached by ”certain people” to assist in toppling the MVA government.
Meanwhile, speaking with reporters at Nagpur Divisional commissionerate on Raut's claim that some BJP leaders will be behind the bars in the next few days, Shiv Sena leader and state cabinet minister Aaditya Thackeray said, "Let the match begin first, now only toss has been done."