In a story that rocked Maharashtra’s Assembly Thursday, involving wife of Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Amruta Fadnavis, the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena (ES) coalition now claim a conspiracy to topple the state government.
Fadnavis, addressed the issue in the Assembly after Opposition Leader Ajit Pawar brought it up and inquired about the specifics of the case as reported in the media.
Later, Thursday evening, Aniksha Anil Jaisinghani, who allegedly threatened and offered a bribe of Rs 1 crore to Ms Fadnavis to get her bookie father released from jail, was arrested by the police. The arrest was based on an FIR registered against the designer and her father, lodged by Ms Fadnavis with the Malabar Hill police station, on February 20.
Aniksha was arrested from her Ulhasnagar residence and has been booked under Section 120 (B) (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and under Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 pertaining to corrupt and illegal means to induce a public servant to take a bribe.
According to the FIR as reported by the media, Aniksha got in touch with Amruta in November 2021. Over the 16 months, the two women reportedly developed a camaraderie. Aniksha also claimed having visited the Fadnavis’s official residence several times.
“She is a fashion designer and also curates a line of statement jewellery and footwear. She approached the BJP leader’s wife to wear them at public events saying it would help her promote the products. Ms Fadnavis claimed feeling sympathetic and hence, she agreed. However, the FIR mentions that upon gaining trust, Aniksha allegedly offered her a stake in cricket betting, by virtue of knowing some bookies. At this point, Ms Fadnavis’s role in the betting chain is under the scanner though she claims that ever since the offer, she minimised her interaction with the suspect character,” shared a police source.
The FIR also mentions that realising that Ms Fadnavis was keeping away, the latter took to contacting and messaging her through other numbers. On February 16, she sent an envelope with a handwritten note offering Rs 1 crore to get her father off the hook in a police case, as per the FIR. “This is what the deputy CM claims was used to frame him and his family,” added a senior police official.
According to the deputy CM, Aniksha also hinted at her political connections and how Ms Fadnavis, a banker by profession, “might get in trouble if the cases against her father were not dropped.” Meanwhile, Ms Fadnavis also claimed to having returned all clothes and accessories from the designer.
As of now, the designer is in police custody as the matter is being investigated. On arrest, the police also claimed to have recovered more than 10 electronic devices from the house. “We are trying to ascertain whether the seized devices were used to threaten Amruta Fadnavis and/or were deployed in the betting syndicate,” shared the officer.