Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Thursday lashed out at the Centre over ED action against National Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar stating it as a move by a “vindictive government”.

“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,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted.

Triggering a political earthquake ahead of the October 21 Assembly elections in Maharashtra, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a money laundering case against Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar, his nephew Ajit Pawar, and several other politicians and officials in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) scam worth around Rs 25,000 crore.

The ED’s move against the political bigwigs came after the Bombay HC ordered the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police to probe and file cases against the Pawars and others in the matter, setting the politicians scurrying.

The Pawars and other prominent politicians, named in a public interest litigation filed by Arora, were accused of causing losses worth around Rs 25,000 crore to the MSCB between 2007 and 2011.

Meanwhile, Sharad Pawar is set to suo moto ‘present’ himself at the ED office today afternoon.

On Wednesday, the NCP chief said that he will fully cooperate with the investigating agency and was prepared for any kind of ‘hospitality’ offered by them.

With Pawar set to go to ED office at 2 pm today, security arrangements have been tightened in and around Mumbai.

Section 144 CrPC has been imposed at Ballard Estate, where the office of Enforcement Directorate is situated. The Mumbai Police has also slapped prohibitory orders in at least seven areas in view of the NCP’s leader’s visit.

The areas include the jurisdictions of Cuffe Parade, Colaba, Marine Drive, Azad Maidan, Dongri, JJ Marg and MRA Marg police Station.

Since yesterday, the police have deployed massive security, erected barricades, and imposed other restrictions in parts of South Mumbai to ward off any untoward incidents.

Assembly elections will be held in Maharashtra in a single phase on October 21. Counting of votes will take place on October 24 and the results will be out on the same day.

The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party will contest 125 seats each of the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, while other allies will contest the remaining 38 in the polls.