Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday trained his guns on the Narendra Modi-led Union government over what he termed as “misuse of central agencies” and the killing of eight persons, including four farmers, in Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh on October 3. Pawar also commented on the October 7 Income Tax department searches on the premises of three of his nieces, saying, “Guests should not overstay their welcome.”
The 80-year-old politician was addressing a press conference at party’s office in Mumbai, where he demanded the resignation of Union minister of state for home Ajay Mishra, whose son Ashish was allegedly driving one of the three cars that ran over a group of protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri. Ashish was denied bail by a local court on Wednesday. Pawar said Mishra’s resignation was necessary to maintain people’s faith in the system.
“Despite the gruesome killing, the ruling party in the Uttar Pradesh and Central government tried to shrug off the responsibility,” he said. “Ashish Mishra was arrested only after the Supreme Court pulled up the government. To ensure faith of the people in the system, the minister needs to resign from the post.”
Pawar alleged that central agencies such as Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Income Tax (I-T) Department, Enforcement Directorate (ED), and Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) are being misused by the Centre, adding that the IT raids against his nieces in Pune were the result of his statement that the Lakhimpur Kheri incident was similar to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of April 1919. He said some Central ministers told him that this comparison “was taken very seriously by the ‘central leadership’.”
“The raids on my three nieces are on for a sixth day in a row. The I-T teams have not found anything in the raids and the officers want to wind up the operation, but their ‘bosses’ from Delhi have instructed them to continue. Three of my nieces are apolitical personalities and have nothing to do with the sugar mills or other businesses facing action. Large, 18-member teams are raiding my nieces who live small houses. We are not against the action, but it should not cross limits.”
Pawar also questioned NCB’s action during the raids on a cruise party in Mumbai and agency’s association with people that face criminal charges. Aryan, the 23-year-old son of actor Shah Rukh Khan, was among those arrested for possession and consumption of narcotics. “I have heard many stories about NCB’s zonal chief during his tenure at Mumbai airport, but I will not speak about it as I have no specific information. However, there are questions over the agency’s association with the people such as Kiran Gosavi who himself faces criminal cases and is shown as absconding in police records. He is NCB’s independent witness in the case. It raises the question over the integrity of the central agency. The agency appears to take action only for the sake of publicity and to show to their bosses in Delhi and to oblige them. The seizures by Maharashtra’s anti-narcotics cell is much more than what NCB could achieve in last few years,” he said.
Pawar questioned why Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders stood in NCB’s support after the allegations levelled by NCP leader Nawab Malik.
Pawar criticised former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis who had taunted the Congress-NCP government over the Maval firing on farmers 10 years ago. Pawar said that the Maval firing was done to disperse a mob that had gone out of control. He also alleged that the farmers in Maval were instigated by the local BJP leaders.
BJP’s Leader of opposition and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis hit back at Pawar, saying, “Pawar saheb said the Maval firing was not done by the state government, but it was the act of the police. He should also remember that the Jallianwala Bagh firing, too, was not done by the governor general but it was ordered by him and done by the police. Pawar saheb should be worried about the sensational information which is coming out to the fore from raids conducted by the central agencies. He should ask his government to curb the rampant corruption.”
Doonited Affiliated: Syndicate News Hunt