Section 144, barricades: Mumbai police gears up as Raj Thackeray appears before ED

Mumbai police has imposed a curfew outside the Enforcement Directorate office and certain other areas of Mumbai, where Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray is appearing on Thursday in connection with a money laundering case. As a precautionary measure, the security outside the ED office has also been tightened. The MNS chief appeared for questioning in connection with the ILFS money laundering probe on Thursday at EDs office in Ballard Pier. Section 144 of CrPC, which bans unlawful assembly, has been imposed in areas under Marine Drive, MRA Marg, Dadar and Azad Maidan police stations, news agency ANI reported. Section 144 prohibits assembly of more than four persons in an area where there is likelihood of breach of peace and disturbance of public tranquility. Police said that the restrictions had been imposed as a precautionary measure to ensure law and order. After the ED sent a notice to Thackeray, his party had called for a bandh in Thane on Thursday. But the bandh was called off after Thackeray appealed to MNS workers to maintain peace and abide by the law. Raj has appealed his party workers not to throng outside the ED office but we dont want to take any chances, a police official was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. The police is expecting a large number of MNS workers and Raj Thackerays supporters to gather outside the ED office. Three sides of the buildings have been barricaded, leaving only one way to enter and exit. The case pertains to alleged irregularities in loans and equity investments worth over Rs 450 crore by ILFS in Kohinoor CTNL Infrastructure Company. The company was floated by Raj Thackeray, former Maharashtra CM Manohar Joshis son Umesh and a builderto develop Kohinoor Square tower in Mumbai.