NCP, which is sharing power with the Sena and Congress in the state, came out in support of veteran leader Eknath Khadse after he received summons from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the alleged Pune land deal case. State party chief Jayant Patil claimed although Khadse was innocent, the BJP, which is in power at the Centre, was wrongfully targeting him.
Patil claimed that it was the ED’s ploy to harass Khadse, especially after he joined NCP. Patil said the manner in which NCP had gracefully inducted Khadse has unsettled the BJP. “Khadse is innocent and he will be cleared of the charges. The BJP is wrongfully targeting him,” he added. The case in which Khadse is being questioned has not yielded any proof against him, said Patil. “The previous inquiries have failed to implicate Khadse. The land in question was purchased legally,” he added.
Patil also alleged that the BJP had systematically side-lined Khadse, an OBC leader.
Since his unceremonious exit from the Devendra Fadnavis-led Maharashtra cabinet in 2016 over the land grab allegations, Khadse had left the BJP to join the NCP last year.
Khadse (68) appeared before the ED in connection with its probe into the money laundering case on Thursday, a day after his son-in-law Girish Chaudhari was arrested by the agency in the case.On his part, Khadse said the ED inquiry was a conspiracy to defame him, and added that it was initiated as he quit the BJP. He noted that the matter has been investigated by various agencies which have found nothing irregular.The ED has alleged that Chaudhari and Khadse had purchased the government land in Bhosari near Pune for Rs 3.75 crore when the actual cost of the land as per the valuation provided by the sub-registrar was Rs 31.01 crore.