An audio clip of a conversation between senior BJP MLA Anil Gote and a Dhule-based BJP worker, in which the duo appear to be discussing money matters, went viral on Saturday. Gote has confirmed that the voice in the audio clip belongs to him and that the conversation recorded in it took place. In the clip, Gote is heard telling the BJP worker that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has ordered a crime branch probe into the kidnapping of private detective Satish Mangale. Mangale’s family had earlier raised allegations against senior IAS officer Radheshyam Mopalwar in this case. Later, Gote is allegedly heard asking the BJP worker to bring “new” currency notes on his way to Nagpur.
While the audio clip surfaced on Saturday, the conversation between the duo had taken place last December, during the winter session of the state assembly. This was just after the Centre’s demonetisation move.
“See, bring new currency, don’t bring the old one. Nobody’s accepting it here. Nobody’s touching it, understood?” Gote is heard saying.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), whose workers released the audio clip, has accused Gote of using his “proximity to the Chief Minister” and his “clout as a member of the legislative assembly” for pecuniary gains.
The NCP chief of city of Dhule, Manoj More, demanded that the clip be probed and action be initiated against Gote.
Gote, when contacted, confirmed that the voice in the audio clip was his, and that he did have the reported conversation with the BJP worker in December. But he denied demanding any bribe. “Listen to the tape carefully. I have said that God has given me a lot, and that I do not want a single penny,” Gote said. The audio clip that has gone viral does not reflect this however.
On the reference to new currency, Gote said that he was only cautioning the worker not to bring the old (scrapped) currency notes when he came to Nagpur.
“My clean character is my political capital, why should I tarnish it?” he asked, while alleging that a senior bureaucrat and a former NCP MLA (from Dhule) were spreading stories about him. The NCP has demanded Gote’s disqualification.
In the past, Gote has served a jail term as an accused in the Telgi fake stamp paper scam. He has raised several accusations against Mopalwar since.