MNS Worker Ends Life Allegedly Over ED’s Notice to Raj Thackeray
Raj Thackeray has been summoned by the ED in connection with a money laundering probe.
An activist of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) allegedly ended his life in Maharashtra's Thane district, with a party leader on Wednesday, 21 August claiming he was “depressed” over the Enforcement Directorate's notice to MNS chief Raj Thackeray.
However, the police said no suicide note was found and a probe was underway to ascertain why he took the extreme step.
The deceased, Pravin Chowgule (27), was an alcoholic and used to be frequently depressed, police sub-inspector Mahesh Kawde said. He allegedly doused himself with kerosene and set himself afire at his residence in Kalwa township around 10 pm on Tuesday.
When some of Chowgule's neighbours saw smoke emanating from his house, they rushed there and took him to a local hospital where doctors declared him brought dead, he said.
“No suicide note was found at the spot,” Kawde said, adding that the police registered a case of accidental death and a probe was underway. He said Chowgule lived alone and used to work as a tourist car operator.
“He used to be frequently depressed and was a liquor addict. He had earlier also attempted suicide on two-three occasions,” the official said.
However, MNS Thane unit spokesman Nainesh Patankar said Chowgule took the extreme step as he was “depressed and angry” over the ED's notice to Raj Thackeray.
Prior to committing suicide, Chowgule expressed concern over this in posts on his Facebook page, he said. After getting information of his death, several MNS leaders and activists rushed to the hospital around midnight.
‘DON'T EXPECT CONCRETE OUTCOME’, SAYS UDDHAV
A day ahead of Raj Thackeray's scheduled appearance before the ED in Mumbai, the MNS chief found an unexpected support from his estranged cousin and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday.
"I do not expect any solid outcome from the inquiry," Uddhav told reporters in a brief reply when asked about the ED's notice to Raj.
Uddhav's comments assume significance given that Assembly elections in the state are round the corner.
RAJ THACKERAY SAYS HE WOULD “HONOUR” THE SUMMONS
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Thackeray said he would “honour” the summons, and appealed to his party workers to maintain “peace and harmony” and not to indulge in violent protests.
WHY HAS RAJ THACKERAY BEEN SUMMONED?
Raj has been summoned by the anti-money laundering agency in connection with its probe into the alleged irregularities relating to loans and equity investment worth over Rs 450 crore by Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) in Kohinoor CTNL Infrastructure Company, which is developing Kohinoor Square tower in Mumbai's Dadar area.
The firm was founded by former Maharashtra chief minister Manohar Joshi's son Unmesh, Raj Thackeray, and latter's close aide and builder Rajan Shirodkar to purchase and develop the land of the defunct Kohinoor Mill.
Raj had reportedly exited from the company in 2008.
Questioning of Unmesh has been going on at the Mumbai office of the ED since 19 August.
‘VENDETTA POLITICS BY BJP’, SAY OPPOSITION PARTIES
Earlier, Sena leader Sanjay Raut had said Raj getting the notice should not be viewed through the prism of politics.
Opposition parties in Maharashtra, including the Congress and the NCP, have rallied behind Raj, terming the ED move a vendetta politics by the ruling BJP.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had said the BJP didn't have any role in the ED notice.
Raj had held several rallies ahead of the Lok Sabha elections targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP-led government in Maharashtra. He, however, had spared Sena from any direct criticism.
The MNS had inflicted severe damage on the Sena in 2009 elections to the state assembly and Lok Sabha.
(Edited for clarity)
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