Raut accuses Bawankule of spending Rs 3.5 cr at Macao casino; BJP hits back

Hitting back, the BJP said that "our state unit president Bawankule had never played gambling in his life" and that "he was staying there with his family"

Sanjay Raut

Sanjay Raut

Press Trust of India Mumbai

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The Shiv Sena (UBT) and the Bharatiya Janata Party tussled on Monday after Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut accused the ruling party's Maharashtra unit chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule of spending Rs 3.5 crore while gambling at a Macao casino.
The BJP responded by uploading on social media a photograph of Raut's colleague Aaditya Thackeray with a glass in his hand and queried "what brand of whiskey" the former state minister was drinking.
Raut had posted a picture of Bawankule that he claimed was from a casino in Macao, a special administrative region of China.
The Shiv Sena (UBT) leader alleged Bawankule had spent Rs 3.5 crore in just three hours while gambling there.
Hitting back, the BJP said on its X account that "our state unit president Bawankule had never played gambling in his life" and that "he was staying there with his family".
Attacking Raut, the BJP further said "those whose entire life had become a gamble cannot see anything else".
Uploading a photograph, the BJP said, "We want Raut to reveal what brand of whiskey is in the glass of Aaditya Thackeray?"

Talking to reporters later in the day, Raut said, "I have 27 photos and five videos of him (Bawankule), but I have the decency not to publish them. If I make those videos public, it will cause major embarrassment to him and the party."

"All I demand is what exactly was he doing there. I am told by someone present there that he spent nearly Rs 3.5 crore in just one night. I was aware of (stamp paper prime accused) Telgi spending Rs 1 crore in just one night at a dance bar. Should we call his (Bawankule) extravagant spending as acche din? Raut said attacking Bawankule.
Raut said the more the BJP tries to hide or suppress the issue, the more it will get exposed.
"If Bawankule was not gambling, what was he doing at the casino table? He spent Rs 3.5 crore in just three hours. He made the payment in US dollars," Raut alleged.
Maharashtra is plagued with several burning issues and its people are suffering but Bawankule is having fun at the Venetian Macao, known for casinos and gambling, he claimed.
It does not look nice, Raut added.
When queried about Aaditya Thackeray's photograph, Raut shot back and said, "Whatever Prime Minister Narendra Modi drinks from his glass is the same drink Aaditya was seen drinking."

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis said the issue showed the "distorted mentality" and "frustration" of Raut.

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Fadnavis claimed Bawankule was there with his family and they were having food at a restaurant which also houses the casino.
"On purpose, an incomplete photo has been uploaded. The complete photo clearly shows Bawankule, his wife, daughter and his entire family. Hence, this kind of distorted mentality should end somewhere because so much frustration is not proper," Fadnavis said attacking Raut.
Such allegations by morphing and editing photos were lowering the level of politics, Fadnavis asserted.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Nov 20 2023 | 6:25 PM IST

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