Mumbai: The Congress on Monday urged Maharashtra Governor C. V. Rao to direct Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to initiate a high-level probe into allegations of corruption against a BMC official made by comedian Kapil Sharma last week.
Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam said that the reaction of the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena government "smacks of a conspiracy to victimise the actor as a defence mechanism to suppress the issue of bribery" since they are scared of being exposed.
In a letter to the governor, Nirupam said that the Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena are targeting Kapil about alleged illegal constructions at Kapil's office and making all kinds of threats.
He was referring to Kapil's controversial tweet to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday in which he made the shocking allegation that he paid Rs 15 crore income tax every year since past five years, yet was made to pay a bribe of Rs 500,000 to a municipal officer for expediting his office work.
Shortly after Fadnavis announced that he would get to the bottom of the allegations, the BMC asked Kapil to provide the names of those seeking illegal gratification, while the Shiv Sena and MNS attacked the actor for making false allegations and dared him to give proof.
"The Chief Minister, instead of setting up an enquiry by the Anti-Corruption Bureau, has conveniently put the onus of proof on Kapil Sharma," Nirupam said in the letter.
While the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation has all the right to take action against any illegal structure in Mumbai, in the present case, the whistleblower - Kapil - is being hounded as he is an artiste and a soft target, with the sole intention of "suppressing" the graft issue, he added.
"If at all the CM wants to take a high moral ground, he should take action against all illegal constructions rather than targeting a whistleblower which will only result in suppression of the fact of bribery," said Nirupam, urging the governor to direct Fadnavis to institute either an ACB or a judicial enquiry into Kapil's allegations and cleanse the BMC of corrupt practices.