A day ahead of Raj Thackeray's scheduled appearance before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Mumbai in connection with an IL&FS probe, the MNS chief seems to have found unexpected support from his estranged cousin and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday.
Sena is the ruling partner of the BJP in the Central and Maharashtra governments.
Raj has been summoned by the anti-money laundering agency in connection with its probe into the alleged irregularities relating to loans and equity investment worth over Rs 450 crore by IL&FS in Kohinoor CTNL Infrastructure Company.
The firm was founded by former Maharashtra chief minister Manohar Joshi's son Unmesh, Raj Thackeray, and latter's close aide and builder Rajan Shirodkar to purchase and develop the land of the defunct Kohinoor Mill.
Raj had reportedly exited from the company in 2008.
Questionning of Unmesh has been going on at the Mumbai office of the ED since August 19.
"I do not expect any solid outcome from the inquiry," Uddhav told reporters in a brief reply when asked about the ED's notice to Raj.
Uddhav's comments assume significance given that assembly elections in the state are round the corner.
Earlier, Sena leader Sanjay Raut had said Raj getting the notice should not be viewed through the prism of politics.
Interestingly, Uddhav had recently snubbed Raj over his proposal that the upcoming elections be deferred to the next year in view of the damage caused by floods in western Maharashtra.
Opposition parties in Maharashtra, including the Congress and the NCP, have rallied behind Raj, terming the ED move a vendetta politics by the ruling BJP.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had said the BJP didn't have any role in the ED notice.
Raj had held several rallies ahead of the Lok Sabha elections targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP-led government in Maharashtra. He, however, had spared Sena from any direct criticism.
The MNS had inflicted severe damage on the Sena in 2009 elections to the state assembly and Lok Sabha.
However, in 2012, after Uddhav underwent an angiography (to unblock blood vessels), he was driven home by Raj, giving rise to speculation of a 'thaw' between the two cousins.
In July 2016, a year ahead of the BMC polls, Raj had met Uddhav at the latter's home sparking speculation of possible rapprochement for the crucial civic polls.
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