Mumbai: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday said Aniksha Jaisinghani, daughter of bookie Anil Jaisinghani, befriended his wife Amruta Fadnavis, lent her designer clothes and jewellery, and ultimately set a trap to blackmail her asking for cases against her history-sheeter father to be scrapped.
By the end of the day, the Mumbai Police had arrested Aniksha based on an FIR filed by Amruta on 20 February for allegedly trying to bribe her with Rs 1 crore to get cases against her father scrapped, police sources confirmed to ThePrint.
Aniksha’s father, an absconder, is an accused in multiple cases and has been arrested three times. Many of these cases were registered when Fadnavis was the CM and the state home minister between 2014 and 2019. And by Fadnavis’ own admission in the state legislative assembly Thursday, his wife’s friendship with Aniksha started in 2015-2016, when he was at the helm of the state, tapered for a few years, and was rekindled in 2021.
Moreover, Aniksha’s acquaintance with Amruta continued despite her asking the latter to try and get cases against her father scrapped.
Fadnavis was speaking in the state assembly on Opposition leader Ajit Pawar’s question based on a report in The Indian Express that Amruta had filed an FIR with the Malabar Hill Police Station in Mumbai against Aniksha for allegedly offering her a bribe of Rs 1 crore.
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The many cases against Anil Jaisinghani
Jaisinghani, a bookie who hails from Ulhasnagar near Mumbai, has been accused in over 15 cases and has faced arrest three times in a betting case.
There have also been political controversies over Jaisinghani getting police protection. In 2010, Fadnavis, then Opposition leader, had in the state legislative assembly, questioned why Jaisinghani was being given police protection, prompting then state Home Minister R.R. Patil to withdraw his security.
In 2015, it was Fadnavis’ turn to answer the same question as the Chief Minister who ordered that Jaisinghani’s security be withdrawn. Then CM and state Home Minister, Fadnavis said that the Mumbai Police had given Jaisinghani police protection a year ago under the then Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) government and that it would be withdrawn.
Around the same time, the Enforcement Directorate of Gujarat conducted raids at Mumbai, Kalyan and Ulhasnagar, including Jaisinghani’s house, in connection with the alleged betting racket in the Indian Premier League.
In 2016, the Azad Maidan Police station booked Jaisinghani for allegedly forging a hospital certificate to escape the police. The same year, Mumbai’s Sakinaka police station and the Goa Police also booked Jaisinghani for allegedly registering a false rape case. The Anjuna Police had also named Aniksha as an accused in the case.
Fadnavis had said in the assembly that Aniksha had got in touch with Amruta in 2015-16, stopped all contact for a few years, and reconnected again in 2021.
Opposition wants detailed inquiry
Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader and Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi on Thursday asked how a criminal’s daughter can gain access to the deputy CM’s house and is friends with his wife for more than five years. “(She) gives his wife jewellery, clothes to wear (for promotion). Roams around with her in her car. The designer friend also tells her how they can make money through reporting bookies, raiding them and settling the same to earn money. Despite that their friendship continues,” Chaturvedi tweeted.
Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole too asked for a thorough investigation, saying that as per Fadnavis’ statement in the assembly, his family knew the family of the accused even when he was CM.
“Fadnavis and the related family have old relations since the former was the CM. Fadnavis himself is saying that his family and the family of those who have been accused of blackmail were related when he was in power and even when not in power. He alleged that some political leaders and police officers are also behind this conspiracy,” Patole said in a statement to reporters.
“All we want to say is that Devendra Fadnavis is the Home Minister, he has the police system and he should investigate the matter and bring the facts before the people,” he added.
Speaking to reporters outside the state legislature, Fadnavis said many political names have come up in conversations with the Jaisinghanis, and a thorough inquiry will be conducted.
“Many things will come out soon, and there will be a lot of information in the chargesheet,” he said.
(Edited by Smriti Sinha)
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