Former state revenue minister Eknath Khadse who had resigned after facing a series of allegations including irregularities in a land deal in Pune and allegedly receiving calls from Dawood Ibrahim’s residence is likely to be reinstated in the cabinet. The Dinkar Zoting committee probing Khadse’s Bhosari land irregularities case have submitted its report. Even though the Khadse family had quoted the land price well below the market rates but they have paid stamp duty for it. The committee has not recommended for any action to be taken against Khadse which increases the possibility of his reinstatement. Khadse had submitted his resignation on 4th June 2016 after allegations of impropriety surfaced against him in a land deal in Pune. He was considered as the two number in BJP after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
After Khadse’s resignation Fadnavis had ordered for a probe against him by forming a committee under Dinkar Zoting. The committed submitted its report on June 30 after probing the case since last one year. Even though the commission was originally expected to submit its report within three months, it was given several extensions. Meanwhile, Pune builder Hemant Gawande, a whistleblower in the case, has written to the chief minister demanding that the report be made available to him.
According to sources from BJP, “The party is keen to re-induct Khadse and Fadnavis too don’t have any objection against his reinstatement. He will discuss this matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah and later they will take a decision about it. Since Khadse has strong foothold in north Maharashtra the party is looking ward to reinstate him. He can play a vital role in strengthening BJP in north Maharashtra.”
Many leaders in BJP want all cases to be withdrawn against Khadse. According to them, injustice has been meted against Khadse who had actively worked for the party for many years. However, Khadse can be given a clean chit only after the FIR registered against him is withdrawn.
After his ouster, Khadse had expressed his displeasure against the party leadership for sidelining him. The cold war between him and Fadnavis has been widely been discussed in political circles. After the BJP’s failure to handle farmers stir in the state many leaders have been demanding reinduction of Khadse into the government. BJP national president Amit Shah on his last visit to Mumbai had interacted with Khadse. Khadse had then briefed Shah about how Fadnavis had mismanaged the farm crisis that has dented BJP’s image.