Eknath Khadse, the revenue minister in the BJP-led government in Maharashtra, has submitted his resignation to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis after allegations of impropriety surfaced against him in a land deal in Pune. The resignation came minutes after Khadse met Fadnavis at the latter’s residence.
Khadse’s troubles had aggravated over the last 15 days after Pune-based realtor Hemant Gavande made serious charges of land grabbing against him. Gavande alleged that Khadse had misused his position as the state revenue minister to illegally execute sales deeds for a three-acre industrial plot at Bhosari in Pune district in the name of his wife and son-in-law. Khadse has denied any wrong doing in the affair.
Gavande, speaking to The Indian Express, said he will continue his crusade till he reaches the logical end.
“I had never asked for the resignation of Khadse. My fight is to see that justice is done in this case,” he said.
At a press conference in Mumbai, Khadse said no one has been able to submit proof of any wrongdoing.
“I have been in politics for 40 years now, and I have never seen such kind of a media trial,” he said.
Also read: How Khadse’s family undervalued 3-acre plot
He added that he requested the Chief Minister to investigate the issue.
The move came after the central leadership of the BJP sent him a clear and stern signal that he had no option but to quit since his continuance would damage the image of the ministry led by the party.
An unfazed Khadse had till last evening said that he has not received any directive from the BJP central leadership on the charges against him which he dubbed as “baseless”.
However, the central leadership sent him a clear and stern signal that he had no option but to quit since his continuance would damage the image of the ministry led by the party and give leverage to the opposition to challenge the BJP’s commitment to provide corruption-free rule.
Not only the opposition Congress and the NCP, but ally Shiv Sena also demanded that Khadse be forced out of the cabinet.
Besides the land deal, Khadse is also under the scanner after his mobile number reportedly appeared in the call records of fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim.
Fadnavis had earlier met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah in New Delhi on Thursday. A report was also submitted to the party’s central leadership on the issue.
(With inputs from Partha Biswas and PTI)