Newsmaker | Kirit Somaiya: Thackeray’s son noire now at center of INS Vikrant row

A constant thorn in the side of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra, especially the Shiv Sena, former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya has led a public campaign against the leaders of the ruling coalition over the past year and a half, accusing them. of corruption.

Last week, the Mumbai Police registered an FIR against the state BJP leader and his son Neil on allegations of swindling money collected for the restoration of INS Vikrant, the Navy’s first aircraft carrier. The FIR was registered after Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut alleged Rs 57 crore corruption in the INS Vikrant case.

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On Wednesday, after the Bombay High Court granted the BJP leader interim protection from arrest, he tweeted, “I thank Mumbai High Court for granting interim relief / bail. Thackeray Sarkar not produced a single document of Rs 57 crore Vikrant scam. They are exposed. Our fight against the ‘Ghotalebaj “Maharashtra Govt will continue till the dirty dozen of Thackeray Sarkar gets punishment.”

Somaiya – who claims that his anti-graft campaign against the Sena is “part of his public commitment as a BJP worker” – has accused everyone from Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s wife Rashmi to Thackeray’s personal secretary Milind Narvekar and transport minister Anil Parab of corruption. All these allegations of irregularities are connected to properties in Ratnagiri district. While the BJP leader has alleged that Parab illegally constructed a resort, he has accused Rashmi and MLA Ravindra Waikar’s wife Maneesha of not paying property tax dues on a joint property in Ratnagiri. He has accused Narvekar of illegally constructing a bungalow and also filed complaints against Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders, including Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. On Friday, the 65-year-old BJP leader, who is a chartered accountant by profession, alleged that a company linked to Uddhav Thackeray’s brother-in-law Shridhar Patankar had laundered money to the tune of Rs 29.62 crore.

Somaiya is a two-time MP from Mumbai North-East but was replaced five years later reportedly because he offended the Shiv Sena by criticizing the Thackerays over a “dumping ground scam” during the 2017 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls.

But after the Sena broke away from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Somaiya became vocal against the MVA government. In 2020, the former MP went after the state government over its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and the health infrastructure in the state.

Senior BJP functionaries said Somaiya’s “lone-crusader style” works well for the party as it helps keep its channel open with the Sena. The former MP became active in state politics in 1995 and soon rose through the ranks to become the BJP Yuva Morcha president. He went to be appointed the BJP national secretary and was also elected to the state assembly.

The founder-president of the Mumbai-based Investors’ Grievances Forum, Somaiya led the fight of small investors whose money got stuck due to a payment default at the National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL) in 2013. At the time, he also leveled allegations Against the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, saying that the NSEL and the company involved, Financial Technologies India Ltd, had used their influence on the government to secure an exemption to launch forward products despite the NSEL being a spot exchange.


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