India: Uproar Over Arrest of BJP's Kirit Somaiya in Maharashtra For Accusing Minister of Corruption
BJP senior leader and former parliamentarian Kirit Somaiya on 13 September accused Maharashtra state minister Hasan Mushrif of indulging in corruption and involvement in a money laundering scam case, allegations dismissed as baseless by the latter.
The former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parliamentarian was arrested Monday at Maharashtra state's Karad railway station. Somaiya was later taken to the state government lodge.
Somaiya was on his way to Kolhapur district, where authorities have barred his entry, citing law and order as well as security concerns following his allegations of corruption against Maharashtra minister Hasan Mushrif.
"Somaiya had been prohibited from entering the Kohlapur district in view of the threat to his life and possibility of law and order situation due to his visit," Kolhapur senior administrative officer Rahul Rekhawar said.
Meanwhile, BJP leaders slammed the state's ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance, which is comprised of Shiv Sena, Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party.
Somaiya had called the state police action an example of "dadagiri" (highhandedness) and an attempt to put curbs on his movement.
Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil has termed the move "dictatorial" and said state chief Uddhav Thackeray's government would not be able to stifle Somaiya's voice.
Patil had said the MVA government was trying to suppress the voice of Somaiya, who was exposing the "corrupt" ministers.
Former Maharashtra state chief Devendra Fadnavis expressed solidarity with Somaiya and said he has been “detained without any explanation”.
“Maharashtra is witnessing an undeclared emergency. Ever since the Maha Vikas Aghadi government took the reins of Maharashtra people have been subjected to harassment. Anybody questioning the government’s wrong decision or pointing to corruption is arrested and jailed,” Fadnavis told reporters on Monday.
Lately, the BJP (which rules the national government and is the main opposition party in the state) and the MVA alliance seem to have been using police and investigative probes against each other's leaders.
On 24 August, another BJP federal minister, Narayan Rane, was arrested for using language against the state chief.
Following that incident, the federal government investigative agency, Enforcement Directorate (ED), summoned MVA leader Anil Deshmukh and state minister Anil Parab in different cases.