‘Even if you behead me, I won’t do like rebel MLAs’: Sanjay Raut terms ED summons a 'conspiracy'

News Network
June 27, 2022

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Mumbai, June 27: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Monday termed the Enforcement Directorate's summons issued to him as a "conspiracy" to stop him from fighting against their political opponents, and said he will not be able to appear before the agency on Tuesday as he has to attend a meeting in Alibaug.

Raut, who is the Shiv Sena's chief spokesperson, also said that even if he is killed, he will not resort to the "Guwahati route" taken by rebel MLAs from Maharashtra. The ED has summoned Rajya Sabha member Raut on Tuesday for questioning in a money laundering probe linked to the re-development of a Mumbai 'chawl' and other related financial transactions involving his wife and friends, officials said.

The development comes as the Shiv Sena battles rebellion from a group of its MLAs, putting a question mark on the future of Maharashtra's Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government. Rebel Shiv Sena legislators, who were first taken to Surat, are now camping in Guwahati.

Raut in a tweet said, "I just came to know that the ED has summoned me. Good! There are big political developments in Maharashtra. We, Balasaheb's Shivsainiks are fighting a big battle. This is a conspiracy to stop me. Even if you behead me, I won't take the Guwahati route."

"Arrest me ! Jai Hind!" he added. In his tweet in Marathi, he also tagged BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis. Later, talking to reporters, Raut said, "I cannot go tomorrow as I have to attend a public meeting in Alibaug, and I will attend it."

The parliamentarian said he is a "Shiv Sena tiger" and the executive editor of a fierce newspaper like the (Sena mouthpiece) 'Saamana'. He asserted that such actions cannot weaken him mentally.

Raut said if there are orders from the BJP leaders, they (the probe agency sleuths) can arrest him. Sanjay Raut's brother MLA Sunil Raut claimed the ED summons were to scare the parliamentarian as he has been opposing the BJP.

In April, the ED provisionally attached assets worth more than Rs 11.15 crore of Sanjay Raut's wife Varsha Raut and two of his associates as part of this investigation. 

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News Network
August 5,2022

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New Delhi, Aug 5: Congress interim president and MP Sonia Gandhi is leading a protest of party MPs against inflation and unemployment in Parliament. 

Congress MPs are wearing black clothes in protest against rising prices. "This protest is about price rise and Agnipath. Price rise affects everybody. As a political party and as elected representatives we are bound to voice the grievances, the burdens and the fears of the people. This is what we are doing," Congress MP and senior leader P Chidambaram. 

"Inflation has risen beyond the limit. The government will have to do something about it. This is why we're fighting," Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said. 

The party is holding nationwide protests against price rise, unemployment and the GST hike on essential items today. It will take out a march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan and 'gherao' the prime minister's residence as part of the protest. 

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News Network
August 19,2022

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Ahmedabad, Aug 19: Some of the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case of the 2002 Gujarat riots are “Brahmins” with good ‘sanskaar’ or values and it is possible they may have been fixed due to their past family activities, a BJP MLA, who was a part of the state government panel that recommended remission to all the 11 men found guilty, said on Thursday.

C K Raulji, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Godhra, said he does not know whether the convicts, released after spending more than 15 years in jail, were involved in the crime.

On August 15, all the 11 convicts sentenced to life imprisonment in the 2002 case of Bilkis Bano’s gang rape and murder of her seven family members during the communal riots walked out of the Godhra sub-jail after the BJP government in Gujarat allowed their release under its remission policy.

“We took the decision on the basis of a Supreme Court order. We were asked to look at their (convicts’) behaviour and decide (on their early release),” Raulji, who was one of the members of the government-appointed committee that recommended granting of remission to the convicts, told a news portal.

“We asked the jailer and learnt that their behaviour was good in the prison…also (some of the convicts) are Brahmins. They have good ‘sanskaar’ (values),” said the ruling party legislator.

The Gujarat government’s decision has invited sharp criticism from the opposition parties who have said the move was against the Centre’s guidelines.

However, Raulji said the convicts may have been fixed.

“It is possible that they (the convicts) might have been fixed in the case due to their past family activities. When such riots take place it happens that those who are not involved are named. But I don’t know if they committed the crime, we decided (on remission) based on their behaviour,” he said.

Asked about the welcome accorded to the 11 men after their release from prison, he said they had not welcomed them.

The Gujarat government released the 11 convicts after the Supreme Court directed it to consider their plea for relief under the state’s 1992 remission policy.

A special CBI court in Mumbai had on January 21, 2008, sentenced to life imprisonment all the 11 accused in the case for murder of seven family members of Bilkis Bano, a riots survivor, and her gang rape. Their conviction was later upheld by Bombay High Court.

These convicts served more than 15 years in prison after which one of them approached the Supreme Court with a plea for his premature release.

The apex court had directed the Gujarat government to look into the issue of remission of his sentence as per its 1992 policy on the basis of the date of his conviction. Thereafter, the government formed a committee which took the decision to allow release of all the convicts.

On March 3, 2002, Bilkis Bano’s family was attacked by a mob at Randhikpur village in Limkheda taluka of Dahod district. Bilkis, who was five months pregnant at the time, was gang raped and seven members of her family were killed during the BJP backed riots. 

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News Network
August 9,2022

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Break-ups and alliances are not new for Janata Dal (United) chief and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who has once again ended alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party after the Bihar opposition — Congress, RJD and Left — declared open support for him. 

A look at Kumar’s allies over the years and his blow hot, blow cold equation with the BJP:

1989: In the initial years in Janata Dal, Kumar backed Lalu Prasad as leader of the opposition in Bihar Assembly in 1989.

1994: Kumar fell out with Prasad, floated the Samata Party with George Fernandes.

1996: Kumar joined hands with the BJP and was a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee cabinet. Then Janata Dal president Sharad Yadav and Lalu Prasad had a spat and the latter broke away and formed the RJD

2000: Kumar was first elected to office, however, he resigned days after he took oath. NDA and allies had 151 seats, Prasad’s RJD had 159, both falling short of the required 163 seats.

2003: The Samata Party merged with Sharad Yadav’s Janata Dal, while continuing its alliance with the BJP. The Janata Dal (United) was formed, with Kumar at the helm.

2005: Kumar’s JD(U), in alliance with the BJP, came back to power as an NDA member, ending the “Lalu era”.

2010: Kumar’s party swept back to power along with ally, the BJP, and he again became the CM.

2013: He snapped his party’s 17-year-old ties with the BJP in 2013, when Narendra Modi was anointed the BJP’s campaign committee chief for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. After parting ways with the BJP, he won a trust vote with support from the Congress, but stepped down in 2014, owning moral responsibility for the JD(U)’s tally of two in the Lok Sabha elections.

In less than a year, Kumar was back as the chief minister, pushing out his rebel protégé Jitan Ram Manjhi with support from the RJD and the Congress.

2017: The Grand Alliance of the JD(U), Congress and RJD won the 2017 assembly polls, but collapsed in just two years, as Kumar insisted that Lalu’s son and deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav, whose name had cropped up in a money laundering case when RJD supremo was the railway minister, “come clear" on the issue.

He broke the alliance, resigned as the chief minister as the RJD refused to budge, only to be back in the office in less than 24 hours with the BJP’s support.

2022: He joined hands with the RJD again, breaking ties with the BJP.

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