Raj Thackeray summoned over probe into IL&FS crisis

New Delhi: Maharashtra politician Raj Thackeray has been summoned in connection with a case linked to the collapse of shadow bank Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) late last year by the Enforcement Directorate.

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader has been asked to appear on Thursday before officials of the Enforcement Directorate or ED for his links to a construction company Kohinoor CTNL which had received loan and equity investments from the IL&FS amounting to Rs. 860 crore, sources said.

Senior Shiv Sena Leader Manohar Joshi’s son Unmesh Joshi has also been summoned by the investigating agency, which probes financial crimes, on Monday.

Reacting to the development, MNS spokesperson Sandeep Deshpande said, “Raj Thackeray created a sensation during the Lok Sabhapoll campaign earlier this year. It had a significant impacton people and to avoid a similar challenge ahead of theMaharashtra Assembly elections, the ED has issued the notice.”

“It is a case of political vendetta,” he alleged while talking to reporters.

According to reports, investigators are probing the shareholding and investment in Kohinoor CTNL, promoted by Unmesh Joshi, Raj Thackeray and his business partner Rajan Shirodkar. Mr Thackeray had reportedly sold his shares in the consortium in 2008.

The Indian government took control of IL&FS late last year after it defaulted on some of its debt, triggering wider concerns about risk in the rest of the country’s financial system. The government also appointed a new board.

A report by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said last week that IL&FS may not have disclosed bad loans on its books for years despite a big part of its loan book having soured.

The collapse of IL&FS led to contagion fears that hit many other Indian shadow banks and dented credit growth, sparking a broader economic slowdown that has severely stung the domestic auto and real estate sectors.

The crisis at IL&FS prompted a series of investigations into its operations.