Following the Enforcement Directorate (ED) action against Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut Sunday, a message was reportedly sent by the Rauts to Shiv Sena Bhavan asking party workers to gather outside Sanjay’s Bhandup residence to protest against the Union government. The ‘split’ in Shiv Sena, however, resulted in a low turnout. But Sanjay’s MLA brother Sunil and another MLA Ramesh Korgaonkar came to support him. Former MLC Shishir Shinde and a few former corporators also reached his residence.
Some Shiv Sainiks from Bhandup and Kanjur village reached Sanjay’s residence. Later, party workers from Ghatkopar, Chembur, Mulund and Thane, among others, gathered outside his house.
Notably, Sanjay was detained by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) from his Bhandup residence in Mumbai and taken to the ED office in Ballard pier Sunday. The ED officers came to Sanjay’s residence in eastern Mumbai along with a posse of CRPF personnel at 7.20 am. Sanjay had failed to appear before the ED on three earlier occasions in the Patra Chawl case.
Initially, zonal DCP Prashant Kadam oversaw the security arrangement, but police commissioner Vivek Phansalkar deputed additional commissioner Dnyaneshwar Chavan of central region and additional commissioner of special branch Rajiv Jain to monitor the scene after the number of protesters increased a bit. Police personnel were drawn from more than 12 police stations in the eastern region of Mumbai to provide security and maintain law and order outside Sanjay’s house.
The Raut residence has two entrances – one from the 90-feet road in Bhandup east and the second from Bhandup village. Around 70 Sainiks were near the Bhandup village entrance and nearly 100 Sainiks gathered outside the other entrance.
Since Sanjay and his wife were busy answering the queries of ED officers, his brother Sunil was coordinating with the protesters. It has been learnt that calls were also made to Uddhav Thackeray’s residence to send more Sainiks.
The protesting Shiv Sainiks blocked both entrances of Sanjay’s house and often raised slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the BJP.
Mama Manjrekar, a protester, said: “The MLAs of Shiv Sena may have gone with Eknath Shinde, but Sainiks on the road are with Uddhavji. We will fight till the end.’’
Asmita Talekar, a Shiv Sainik who came from Bhayander, said: “When I saw the news on TV, I came to his (Sanjay’s) house to support him. I want to know why the ED is taking action only against Marathi people and not others.”
Tony Dias, a Shiv Sena upa shakha pramukh from Sion, said: “I got a message from the party that Raut saheb was facing ED action. When our meeting at the BKC turned out to be a hit and PM Narendra Modi realised that Shiv Sena posed a major challenge against his victory in 2024, they started taking action against Raut saheb.”
However, some Sainiks who gathered at the site also appeared to be worried about a possible police backlash. Party sources said a few Shiv Sainiks went home after seeing that fellow party workers from other parts of Mumbai were not coming to Bhandup in expected numbers.
Besides talking to ED investigators, Sanjay answered innumerable calls from politicians from across the country since morning. Finally, at around 2 pm, he had a light lunch and again started answering queries of the ED even as the investigators searched his house. His brother Sunil told indianexpress.com, “The ED searched our entire house for papers and they did not get a single document against my brother. They gave us a notice and we decided to go to the ED office.”
Sources in the Shiv Sena said Sanjay “packed his bag along with medicines for a long stay with ED officers”.
As Sanjay stepped out of his bungalow at around 4:45 pm, many neighbours also gathered at the site and his supporters started shouting slogans. His mother and wife sobbed as they watched him leave for the ED office, and a Sainik loudly addressed Sanjay’s mother and said, “Aai, you are not alone. We are all with you. We are family members.”
Sunil accompanied Sanjay to the ED office.