Where's the money?: Sanjay Raut slams BJP's Kirit Somaiya over INS Vikrant fund
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut stated that the BJP leader Kirit Somaiya crowdfunded Rs 50 crore to save INS Vikrant; however, no one is aware of the money and its use.
After a day of Enforcement Directorate seizing his property, Shiv Sena leader and MP Sanjay Raut questioned Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kirit Somaiya, where is the fund of Rs 50 crore, which he collected from the Maharashtrian people to save the INS Vikrant. In 1971, the INS Vikrant was used against Pakistan, and the warship and Indian navy played a key role.
While talking to reporters, Raut stated that the condition of the warship deteriorated, and it became difficult to maintain; there was a campaign to turn it into a museum. The campaign was across the country to save the INS Vikrant. All party leaders from Maharashtra visited Delhi and met the Defence Minister AK Antony or the prime minister. Kirit Somaiya was a part of the campaign; now no one knows about the funds; where's the money, Raut questioned.
He tweeted Kirit Somaiya's image of the campaign. Also, he accused Somaiya that the money was never used and knew nothing about the money.
Raut added that Somaiya urged people to donate money to the "Save Vikrant" campaign; he visited Mumbai airport and railway stations for the same. Numerous people backed the campaign, and Somaiya received lakhs and crores of money. He informed that a few people called him and told him they too donated Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 in Navy Nagar, Church gate, and Chembur.
Following the information, nearly Rs 50 crore was collected officially. People presumed the money would go to save the INS Vikrant. Raut added that Somaiya informed the media that the money would be submitted to Raj Bhavan's account by a separate independent account. Raut explained when he connected with Rajya Bhavan; he received information that no such sum had been submitted.
Now, where's the money? Raut questioned Somaiya. Raut slammed the BJP leader with the major allegation just a day after ED attached assets of Varsh Raut, his wife and two other aides, Pravin Raut and Swapna Patkar. The attachment of the properties comes in connection with the Patra Chawl land scam case.
As per Raut, the discovery was made in a March RTI response submitted by Maharashtra Raj Bhavan to activist Dhirendra Upadhyay. The activist wanted information on the money gathered from the general public, retired and serving military personnel, and government officials in an attempt to preserve the decommissioned 'INS Vikrant' from the scrapyard in 2013-2014.
Raut claimed Somaiya is a CA who understands how to 'digest' such money. He demanded that central agencies conduct an impartial investigation into the matter.
Raut added that the Maharashtra government would look into the investigation of the funds for "Save Vikrant."
Replying to Raut's claims, Somaiya stated that the Sena leader is doing a 'time-pass' after the ED seized his assets and took action against his wife and aide on Tuesday.
Somaiya stated that the Raut had levelled numerous accusations against his wife, family, and himself. He added that if Raut has evidence against him, he should present it to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
INS Vikrant was decommissioned in 1997; it was kept as a museum until 2012, when it was closed due to a lack of funds. Somaiya had promised to aid at the time through various fund-raising and crowdfunding.