Had to choose between jail & a new party, says Sena candidate Ravindra Waikar

May 11,2024

Ravindra Waikar, Shiv Sena candidate from Mumbai NW, said Friday he had the option of either going to jail or approaching another party to explain his stand as he came under ED and EOW lens earlier this year, reports Sumitra DebRoy. A close aide of Uddhav Thackeray, Waikar joined CM Shinde in March and was named a candidate.

Waikar said when he was being summoned by agencies, he sought Thackeray's help thrice but did not get necessary support.

Uddhav should have stood by me, but didn't, says Waikar

I suggested to him that perhaps we could reach out to higher authorities, including PM Modi, to convey that the unfolding events were unjust. However, Uddhav expressed his inability to intervene. He said whatever it is, I have to face it on my own," Waikar said. "But I was already facing the agencies. The fact is my party head should have stood by me but that did not happen," the 65-year-old politician said.

In Jan, Waikar faced interrogation by ED in connection with an alleged Rs 500 crore money laundering case related to the construction of a high-end hotel in Jogeshwari while allegedly breaching his agreement with BMC. In a recent interview to Maharashtra Times, Waikar said: "After being falsely implicated, I was left with only two options, either go to jail or switch parties ... . It was with a heavy heart that I switched sides ... . When my wife's name was also included (in this case), I had no choice left ... ."

Waikar approached Shinde, who he claimed attentively listened to his concerns and questioned the actions of the agencies. "He called the officers concerned and asked why that was happening," Waikar said. After Shinde supported him, Waikar said all his "tension and depression" caused by the questioning and allegations went away.

Waikar said that it had not always been smooth sailing with Shinde as far as his rapport with him was concerned, but after a series of meetings and fruitful discussions about their agenda they managed to iron out their differences.

"We both had our own priorities to address, many of which were significant," Waikar said.