Maharashtra Lokayukta Justice (Retd)M L Tahaliyani has given a clean chit to former Maharashtra Minister Eknath Khadse in the bribery case involving his “personal assistant” Gajanan Patil and closed a complaint in the matter.
Incidentally, the clean chit came a week before Khadse resigned from the BJP-led ministry in the wake of a series of charges, including alleged irregularity in buying an MIDC plot at Bhosari in Pune.
The Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) arrested Patil from outside the ‘Mantralaya’ (state secretariat) gate last month for allegedly demanding a Rs 30-crore bribe from Mumbai-based entrepreneur Ramesh Jadhav in a land allotment matter.
The Lokayukta heard the complainant and senior ACB officials on May 27, before passing the order the same day.
“At least 12 recordings of the conversation between the complainant (Jadhav) and Gajanan Patil were made,” the Lokayukta report said.
“The transcription doesn’t indicate that either the Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse or any of his employees were involved in the alleged demand made by the accused Gajanan.
Patil,” the Lokayukta said, adding “the complaint needs to be closed and is accordingly closed”.
“The complainant has many other grievances against the government including lacklustre attitude of the government to his request for allotment of land for educational purpose and other work,” the Lokayukta said.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday had expressed confidence that Khadse would emerge clean from the probe into allegations against him.
“I am confident that Nathabhau (Khadse) will emerge clean from this ‘Agnipariksha’ (test by fire),” he had said.
The Maharashtra ACB had also given a clean chit to Khadse in the Rs 30-crore bribe demand matter.
The agency had submitted a status report on the investigations in the case to the Chief Minister, where it has categorically mentioned that the “investigations so far haven’t revealed any evidence to suggest that the Minister (Khadse) had demanded a bribe”.