New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has extended support to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar, who has been named in a money-laundering case by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a scam at the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank.

Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, Gandhi slammed the Modi government and accused it of being vindictive. Furthermore, he raised question on the timing of the ED action as it comes a month ahead of the forthcoming Maharashtra Assembly election 2019.

“Sharad Pawar Ji is the latest Opposition leader to be targeted by a vindictive Government. The timing of this action, a month before elections in Maharashtra, reeks of political opportunism”, tweeted Gandhi.

Besides, the Congress, the Shiv Sena, the estranged ally of Bharatiya Janata Party has also backed the NCP chief. “People do not believe on the charges leveled against him. They have faith in Pawar. There is no proof against him,” said senior Congress leader Sanjay Raut.

NCP leader Nawab Malik, meanwhile, alleged that NCP workers were being detained in Mumbai and other places across Maharashtra. “Police is detaining NCP workers in Mumbai and in other parts of the state, it is not right. Sharad Pawar will definitely go to ED office at 2 pm today. BJP government is misusing Enforcement Directorate”, said Malik.

Meanwhile,  section 144 has been imposed in Ballad Estate, where the ED office is located. Prohibitory orders are also in place in Colaba, Cuffe Parade, Marine Drive, Azad Maidan, Dongri, JJ Marg, and MRA Marg police stations

Yesterday, the NCP supremo had appealed to all his supporters and activists not to gather around the ED office, maintain calm, co-operate with the police and investigation agencies and not to inconvenience the public in any manner.

Earlier on Tuesday, the ED named Pawar, his nephew Ajit Pawar, besides other state political leaders and officials in the alleged Rs. 25000-crore scam in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank Ltd.