Saket Gokhale arrested by Enforcement Directorate in money laundering case

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Trinamool Congress spokesperson Saket Gokhale on Wednesday was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case.

Gokhale was already in judicial custody in connection with a case filed by the Gujarat Police.

The TMC spokesperson was on Wednesday arrested under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in Ahmedabad, reported PTI. He was sent to Enforcement Directorate custody till January 31 by a city court.

The case is linked to the alleged misuse of money collected through crowdfunding for which the Ahmedabad Cyber Crime Branch arrested Gokhale from Delhi on December 30. It was the third time that the Gujarat Police had arrested him in a month.

The case by the Gujarat Police is based on a first information report registered on a complaint filed by an Ahmedabad resident who claimed to have donated Rs 500 to Gokhale. He alleged that the Trinamool Congress spokesperson collected over Rs 70 lakh from more than 1,700 persons through a crowdfunding platform and used that money for personal use.

Gokhale has been denied bail on two occasions in the case.

On Wednesday, the Trinamool Congress said that Gokhale’s arrest was part of a witch-hunt by the Bharatiya Janata Party at the Centre.

“They [BJP] have been misusing agencies,” a party spokesperson said. “Favouritism and selective approach by Central agencies as they turn blind eye to the crimes of BJP leaders who are running scot-free.”

Previous arrests

In December, Gokhale had been arrested twice within four days over a news clipping he shared on social media about a purported Right to Information application that claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Morbi bridge collapse site cost Rs 30 crore. However, the Press Information Bureau had said that the information was fake.

The prime minister had visited Morbi on November 1, a day after the bridge on the Machchu river collapsed, leaving 141 people dead.

Gokhale was first held in Jaipur on December 5 by the Gujarat Police without the knowledge of the Rajasthan Police. He was formally arrested after being brought to Ahmedabad, and subsequently sent to police custody till December 8. The Gujarat Police had alleged that Gokhale tweeted fake news about Modi’s visit to Morbi to get political mileage.

On December 8, an Ahmedabad court granted him bail, but he was soon re-arrested in another case filed in the Morbi district. The Morbi Police accused Gokhale of allegedly “promoting enmity between classes during the elections” apart from spreading fake news about Modi.

On December 9, Gokhale managed to get bail in the second case as well.

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