PIL Filed in Bombay HC Requesting CBI, ED Inquiry into Wealth of Ex-Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray

Uddhav Thackeray Law Insider

Sakina Tashrifwala

Published on: October 19, 2022 at 21:05 IST

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Bombay High Court requesting a CBI and ED inquiry into the wealth of ex-Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, his wife Rashmi, and their two sons Aditya and Tejas.

Gouri (38) and Abhay Bhide (78), whose family temporarily printed Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray’s weekly during the emergency, have filed a criminal PIL. Gouri was inspired by the phrase “Na khaunga na khane dunga.”

The matter was delayed until November 16 by a bench of Justices Sanjay Gangapurwala and RN Laddha for removal of office objections.

“We will consider the subject once it is completed. Remove the office objections first, and then we will hear it,” it said

Bhides live in Dadar, which has long been a Sainik stronghold. Their appeal raises concerns over land plots provided by the Maharashtra Government-owned CIDCO to the trust Prabodhan Prakashan (Owner and publishers of Saamna newspaper).

According to the plea, the trust’s shareholding was modified and eventually owned by the Thackerays. It goes on to say that Thackeray’s company, Prabodhan Prakashan Pvt. Ltd, exhibited “excellent performance” during the COVID-19 closure, with a Rs 42 crore turnover and a Rs 11.5 crore profit.

According to the petitioners, this is a “clear case” of black money being converted to white money.

The petitioner believes that BJP leader Kirit Somaiya or both agencies must have “vast knowledge” and connections to Thackerays.

“It appears to be a clear case of converting black money into white money. Unaccounted money received from BMC and other sources may have been dishonestly digested (sic) into the records of the aforementioned company, with bogus profit statistics indicated for this digestion.”

“This is not a wild guess or an unfounded accusation. These companies’ financial statements will clearly disclose the truth. These are mostly benami transactions,” her petition includes.

Uddhav, Aditya, and Rashmi, according to the petitioner, have never reported any “specific service, profession, or business as their official source of income.” Despite this, they own “large properties in a metropolis like Mumbai and in Raigad area, which may be worth crores.”

“Those exhibits demonstrate that holding an official position in any political party cannot be a legitimate source of income in and of itself. Similarly, holding the constitutional positions of chief minister and cabinet minister in any state is not a source of income due to the limited salary,” her petition includes.

Bhides claims Thackerays also published the magazine Marmik and the newspaper Saamna, but they were never audited by the Audit Bureau of Circulation and no one knows what their print order was.

“Because the Marmik and Saamna cannot be breadwinners and wealth earners for the family due to their extravagant lifestyle, their political outfit, Shivsena and its corporators, particularly the chairmen of the Standing and Improvements Committees of the BMC, is their sole and exclusive source of wealth creation,” her petition claims.

Bhide states that her complaint was sent to the police commissioner and forwarded to the EOW on July 11, 2022, but no action appears to have been taken.

As a result, they have asked the High Court to order the Centre, the ED, and the CBI to “take cognizance of her complaint lodged with Mumbai police and take the matter into their own hands.”

Furthermore, the Bombay High Court will supervise the probe on a monthly basis.

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