Maharashtra’s revenue minister Eknath Khadse, who allegedly used black money to buy MIDC, reportedly resigned on Saturday. He is facing allegations of impropriety in a land deal.
Although there was no official confirmation at the time of filing this report, news agencies said that the decision to resign may have been a consequence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis briefing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah on the issue on Friday.
Khadse, who is the senior most minister in the Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ cabinet and commands enormous clout, of late has been mired in controversies with a questionable land deal in Pune and an alleged demand for bribe by his close aide Gajanan Patil for a land allotment case in Kalyan. Apart from these doubtful real estate transactions, his mobile phone number allegedly appeared in the call records of most wanted gangster Dawood Ibrahim.
According to reports it is belived that, the resignation came after a phone call from Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari to Mr Khadse, conveying that he should obey the party diktat.
Earlier, speaking in Delhi, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said he had submitted the facts to BJP president Amit Shah on the allegations against Mr. Khadse.
Fadnavis, in his report to Shah, reportedly stated that Khadse’s Pune land deal involves a conflict of the interest because it was purchased by his wife Mandakini Khadse and son-in-law Girish Chaudhary eyeing compensation as high as Rs60 crore. The report also stated the land belongs to the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation and industries minister and Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai had openly claimed ownership.
The report also mentioned the pressure tactics by Khadse and his supporters in Jalgaon and Mumbai. Seventeen corporators from the Jalgaon Municipal Corporation had threatened to resign if the party did not stand by him. In Mumbai, too, the followers staged a demonstration demanding no action be taken against Khadse. The minister, who has been in Jalgaon for the past two days, also tried to consolidate support from locals as well as the Leva Patil community.
A delegation of NCP and Congress leaders had also met Maharashtra Governor Vidyasagar Rao on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively and demanded Khadse’s resignation.