MUMBAI: Hitting out at NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal, who was recently granted bail by Bombay High Court in connection with a money laundering case, the Shiv Sena has said that the former's arrest and subsequent incarceration was "fate's revenge" against him for his attempt to put Bala Saheb Thackeray in jail when he was a minister.
Mocking Bhujbal, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party said law and power are used many-a-time to settle political scores.
The acerbic remarks from Maharashtra's ruling party came days after Chhagan Bhujbal, 70, was granted bail by the Bombay High Court after it took into consideration his old age and deteriorating health on May 4.
Bhujbal, an influential politician from Maharashtra, has been in jail since his arrest in March 2016.
Mocking the NCP leader, the Shiv Sena claimed that he desperately wanted to arrest Bal Thackeray around two decades ago when he was Maharashtra's Home Minister.
Cases were filed against Bala Saheb for giving speeches and writing editorials in the name of 'Hindutva', the party said in an editorial in its mouthpiece 'Saamana'.
"Chhagan Bhujbal's imprisonment was the revenge taken against him by fate. He wanted to arrest Bala Saheb by any means. Our ally (BJP) was in power at the Centre then and it had sent additional police forces from other states to prevent any law and order problem," the Sena editorial said.
The party went on to attack its coalition partner in the state and ally BJP, which, it alleged, had a secret alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) led by Sharad Pawar.
It said that Chhagan Bhujbal was in jail for two years on money laundering charges, while former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram's son Karti Chidambaram, facing similar charges, came out on bail within eight days of his arrest (in March this year).
"Laws and power are often used to take political revenge," the Saamana editorial said.
Chhagan Bhujbal, who handled the Public Works Department in the Congress-NCP government, was arrested in March 2016 after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) found in an inquiry that he allegedly misused his office in awarding contracts for PWD projects, causing a loss to the exchequer.
According to the Enforcement Directorate, Chhagan Bhujbal awarded contracts, including the one for the construction of a new Maharashtra Sadan - the state guest house - in Delhi to a private firm, allegedly in return for kickbacks for himself and his family.
The former Maharashtra deputy chief minister and his nephew Sameer Bhujbal channelled the ill-gotten money into shell companies, the agency alleged.
Chhagan Bhujbal started his political career with the Shiv Sena and was in the party for over two decades. He left the Shiv Sena in 1991 and joined the Congress.
Later, after Sharad Pawar decided to split from the Congress and form the NCP, the former PWD minister went along with him.
(With PTI inputs)