first_imgA team of the Income Tax Department on July 25 raided the residence and factory premises of senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and legislator Hasan Mushrif in Kolhapur district in western MaharashtraAn MLA from the Kagal Assembly seat, Mr. Mushrif, a former Minister who held the Labour portfolio in the erstwhile Congress-NCP government, is considered to be a tall leader of his party in the State’s ‘sugar belt’ region.According to sources, the I-T team swooped down on Mr. Mushrif’s bungalow in Kagal at around 5.30 a.m. while simultaneous raids took place at his son’s residence in Pune and his relatives’ house in Takala in Kolhapur.Officials also conducted searches at the Sar Senapati Santaji Ghorpade Sugar Factory in Kagal which is said to be controlled by Mr. Mushrif among other places.However, authorities declined to elaborate on the reason for the raids.A number of the NCP leader’s loyalists thronged outside his house to express solidarity as news of the raids spread throughout Kagal. A robust security shield was in place as the I-T officials conducted their searches and scrutinised documents at Mr. Mushrif’s house and office.The raids coincide with the exit of another important NCP leader Sachin Ahir, who jettisoned his position as his party’s Mumbai unit chief to enter the Shiv Sena, allegedly impressed with Aditya Thackeray’s leadership.The timing of the raid on Mr. Mushrif’s home has triggered speculation that the NCP leader’s alleged ‘refusal’ to join the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prompted the party to unleash the I-T Department on him.“Recently, at a public function in Kolhapur, newly appointed BJP State president Chandrakant Patil had made an open offer to Mr. Mushrif to ally with the BJP. But the NCP leader had snubbed Mr. Patil and instead questioned as to how, and from where, was the BJP able to secure enormous funds to ‘buy’ Congress legislators in Karnataka and destabilise the Congress-JD (S) government,” said an analyst, requesting anonymity.The raids on Mr. Mushrif’s house also come amid intense speculation of another NCP MLA, Vaibhav Pichad from Akole in Ahmednagar district, entering the BJP fold.Mr. Pichad, the son of senior NCP MLA Madhukar Pichad, is believed to have met with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at the latter’s home ‘Varsha’ in Mumbai on Wednesday evening.The developments take place a week after Mr. Patil had confidently claimed that several legislators from the opposition NCP and the Congress were in contact with the BJP. Mr. Patil had also said that the opposition camp would witness a spate of resignations in the coming week.last_img

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