Mumbai police have filed a fraud case against BJP leader Kirit Somaiya and his son Neel for allegedly embezzling more than Rs 57 crore to save the aircraft carrier INS Bikrant, an official said on Thursday.
A case was filed against the 53-year-old former army personnel at the Trombay police station in the suburb of Mankhurd on Wednesday evening, he said.
Commissioned in 1961, INS Bikrant, a majestic-class aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy, played a key role in enforcing the naval blockade of East Pakistan during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War. It was canceled in 1997.
In January 2014, the ship was sold through an online auction and was scrapped in November of that year. Complainant alleges that Somaiya started a campaign to raise funds for INS vendors. He said he had given a grant to Somaiya to save the ship and the BJP leader had collected more than Rs 57 crore for this purpose. However, instead of depositing the money in the office of the Secretary to the Governor of Maharashtra, he misused the funds.
Local Shiv Sena leaders met the police authorities with the complainant on Wednesday to raise the issue. Based on the allegations, a case has been registered against Kirit Somaiya, her son Neel and others under sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (fraud) and 34 (general purpose) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), police officials said.
On Wednesday, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut also accused Kirit Somaiya of stealing Rs 57 crore collected from the public as a grant to save INS vendors. Rejecting the allegations, Somaiya said that if Raut had any evidence, he should hand it over to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
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