Rawat was a staunch Shevchenko who withstood the pressure, Uddhav said after meeting family members

In a show of solidarity, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Monday met the family of ousted party leader Sanjay Raut, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case. Thackeray along with party MP Arvind Sawant, MLA Ravindra Waikar and Sena leader Milind Narvekar visited Rawat’s residence in suburban Bhandup.

At Rawat’s residence, the former chief minister met the mother, wife, daughters and other family members of the arrested Sena MLA. Rawat’s mother and wife became emotional when he was taken to the ED on Sunday.

Later, in a press conference, Thackeray described Rawat as a close friend and addressed him by his first name. He also praised him as a “keen chef” who did not buckle under pressure. Criticizing the former chief minister for his gesture, rebel Shiv Sena MLA spokesman Deepak Kesarkar welcomed Thackeray at Raut’s residence, but said he did not meet other party leaders whose central Investigations are being carried out by the agencies.

Earlier in the day, Raut’s brother and party MLA Sunil Raut had told PTI that Thackeray was firmly behind the arrested leader’s family.

The ED arrested Rajya Sabha MP Raut, a staunch critic of the BJP, after conducting a nine-hour search at his residence in a ‘chawl’ (an old row house) in Mumbai. Nine were arrested in a money laundering case linked to alleged irregularities. , during which Rs 11.5 lakh cash was seized.

Rawat denied the allegations and said he was framed for political vendetta.

On Monday, the Sena MP was produced before a special court which remanded him in ED custody till August 4.

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