Mumbai: Eknath Khadse, who resigned as Maharashtra’s revenue minister following allegations of impropriety with regard to a land deal and alleged calls from underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, on Saturday alleged that a trial by media was being conducted against him sans evidence.
“It is an attempt to defame the BJP Government in Maharashtra. A media trial has been going on against me without any proof. I have never seen, in my political career of 40 years, that the media has left all the other news and is focusing on Khadse. I have told that if there is any evidence, I will resign on moral grounds,” Khadse told ANI.
“The present value of that land is around eight crore rupees. It is completely illogical that a person will pay a bribe of Rs. 30 crores for a land worth of Rs. eight crores. I have myself asked for evidences but nobody has come out with any proof,” he added.
Khadse today met Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis amid reports that the BJP has begun the process to act against him.
The most senior minister in the Fadnavis government is facing serious allegations over an illicit land deal and his cellphone number allegedly appearing in the call records of most-wanted gangster Dawood Ibrahim.
Khadse has maintained that the land was not owned by the government, that he bought it from a private party, and that he paid the stamp duty or tax on the market value of the plot which he says proves that the deal was above-board.
The Maharashtra’s Anti-Terror squad is investigating the alleged calls to the minister from Dawood Ibrahim. Khadse has denied any links to Ibrahim.
Khadse, was holding charge of 10 portfolios, including the ministry of minorities welfare, ministry of animal husbandry and ministry of dairy development, among others before resigning.
Former AAP leader Anjali Damania, who is on a hunger strike demanding Khadse’s resignation for the last three days, said this was the initial victory for her after exposing Khadse’s wrongdoings.