NCP (Sharad Pawar faction) leader Prashant Jagtap, along with party workers, staged a protest in Pune on Wednesday, demanding the resignation of Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The protest comes in the wake of the recent controversy surrounding the Lalit Patil drug case.
Addressing the gathering, Jagtap expressed his concerns about the "deteriorating image of Pune" due to the Lalit Patil drug case. He stated, "We cannot tolerate those who tarnish the image of Pune. While the Mumbai police have arrested Patil, the main culprits aiding him in the drug case are still at large. We have lost trust in the Maharashtra government for allowing criminals like Patil to thrive, not only producing and distributing drugs but also ruining the lives of our youth."
Furthermore, Jagtap drew attention to allegations involving the dean of Sassoon General Hospital, accusing them of providing luxury facilities to Patil at the expense of the healthcare of common people. He demanded the arrest of the dean and called for a narco-test to uncover the truth.
The NCP leader urged that the case be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate the involvement of political leaders supporting Patil. He emphasised the need for a thorough investigation into how criminals like Patil received preferential treatment in hospitals while common citizens struggled to access quality healthcare.
In a call to action, Jagtap insisted that several ministers, including Dada Bhuse, Girish Mahajan, Eknath Shinde, and Devendra Fadnavis, resign from their positions and be thoroughly investigated for their potential involvement in the case.
Jagtap and the party leaders were seen carrying banners in Marathi, which read, "The cultural capital (Pune) has turned into drug capital."
Earlier, Congress leader and Kasba MLA Ravindra Dhangekar had alleged that there may be plans for an encounter of Patil, orchestrated by the police, possibly made to appear as a crossfire situation. He suggested that the delay in the investigation could be attributed to the involvement of both former and current police officers and politicians. He called for the case to be transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to ensure a more impartial inquiry.