Mumbai, 18th January 2024: Suraj Chavan, a key aide of Aditya Thackeray, leader of the Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray (UBT) group in Shiv Sena, has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the alleged Khichdi scam during the COVID-19 pandemic. Chavan’s arrest comes after several days of interrogation, posing challenges for the UBT group ahead of the upcoming general elections.
The alleged Khichdi scam involves the distribution of meals to poor migrant workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) awarded contracts to 52 companies for this purpose. In the initial four months, 4 crore plates of Khichdi were distributed, but allegations of a scam emerged. The ED initiated an investigation into the matter, leading to the arrest of Suraj Chavan.
Suraj Chavan, considered to be Aditya Thackeray’s right-hand man, serves as the secretary of the UBT group and plays a crucial role in Shiv Sena’s youth wing, Yuva Sena. He started his political journey as an ordinary worker in Yuva Sena and eventually became a confidant of Aditya Thackeray, leading to his current role as the secretary of the UBT group.
Originally a Shiv Sainik, Suraj Chavan worked in the Byculla Branch of Shiv Sena and later joined Yuva Sena after collaborating with UBT group leader Anil Desai. His close association with Aditya Thackeray grew, and he became responsible for managing Thackeray’s meetings and tours. With the formation of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, Suraj Chavan’s influence and responsibilities increased.
Suraj Chavan’s arrest has put the UBT group in a challenging position, especially with general elections on the horizon. His role as a close aide to Aditya Thackeray and his involvement in the alleged Khichdi scam may have wider implications for the political landscape in Maharashtra.
While Suraj Chavan was not widely discussed in the media during his time in power, his recent arrest has brought attention to his role in the alleged malpractices in BMC during the COVID-19 period. The investigation by the ED has intensified the scrutiny on Chavan, who was known for his influence and his interactions with government officials during his tenure.