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Thursday, July 29, 2021

ED questions Eknath Khadse for 9 hours in Pune land deal case

The ED had issued summons to Khadse, following the arrest of his son-in-law, Girish Chaudhri, for alleged money laundering.

Written by Khushboo Narayan | Mumbai |
Updated: July 8, 2021 9:01:35 pm
NCP leader Eknath Khadse outside the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office in Mumbai in January 2020. (Express Photo by Ganesh Shirsekar)

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday questioned NCP leader Eknath Khadse for about nine hours in connection with the 2016 Pune land deal case.

Khadse reached the ED office in Mumbai around 11 am and left the office only by 8pm.

“I’ll cooperate (with the ED probe). Entire Maharashtra can see what is happening. Everyone knows this is politically motivated. Inquiry has already been done five times. It is being done again now. ACB has given a report that there is no evidence,” said Khadse upon arrival at the ED office.

The ED had on Wednesday issued summons to Khadse, following the arrest of his son-in-law, Girish Chaudhri, for alleged money laundering.

The agency has alleged that Chaudhri and Khadse bought land in Bhosari village in Pune for Rs 3.75 crore when its actual value was over Rs 31 crore. The land was purchased in Chaudhri’s name and the money for the deal was allegedly routed through five shell companies, claimed an ED official.

Last October, the ED had filed an Enforcement Case Information Report against Khadse, his wife Mandakini Khadse, Chaudhri and Abbas Ukani in the alleged grab of Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation land at Bhosari village in Pune. Ukani is the original owner of the land.

The agency has alleged that Khadse – who was the state revenue minister in 2016 – by using his official position and government machinery, manipulated the actual market price of the land. The deal, according to ED, has caused a loss of Rs 61.25 crore to the public exchequer.

Meanwhile on Thursday, NCP’s Maharashtra unit president and state water resources minister Jayant Patil said the manner in which his party (NCP) had gracefully inducted Khadse has unsettled the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“Khadse is innocent and he will be cleared of the charges. But the BJP is wrongfully targeting him. The previous inquiries have failed to implicate Khadse. The land in question was purchased legally,” Patil said.

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