Maharashtra revenue minister Eknath Khadse, who is facing twin charges of an illicit land deal and an alleged connection with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, submitted his resignation letter to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday, said TV reports. Khadse is accused of misusing his official position to purchase a government plot at Bhosari in Pune and earn money through government compensation. He also received flak for allegedly receiving calls from Dawood Ibrahim.
Last month, the Anti-Corruption Bureau caught Gajanan Patil, an alleged aide of the revenue minister, asking for a bribe to swing the revenue department’s decision on a land allotment.
Khadse’s resignation comes two days after Fadnavis met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah seperately over the issue. He also submitted a report to Shah on the charges against Khadse.
Fadnavis, in his report to Shah, reportedly stated that Khadse’s Pune land deal involves a conflict of the interest because it was purchased by his wife Mandakini Khadse and son-in-law Girish Chaudhary eyeing compensation as high as Rs60 crore. The report also stated the land belongs to the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation and industries minister and Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai had openly claimed ownership.
The report also mentioned the pressure tactics by Khadse and his supporters in Jalgaon and Mumbai. Seventeen corporators from the Jalgaon Municipal Corporation had threatened to resign if the party did not stand by him. In Mumbai, too, the followers staged a demonstration demanding no action be taken against Khadse. The minister, who has been in Jalgaon for the past two days, also tried to consolidate support from locals as well as the Leva Patil community.
The BJP’s ally Shiv Sena and social worker Anna Hazare have been mounting pressure for Khadse’s resignation.
Khadse has also been attacked by political rivals Congress and Aam Aadmi Party over the alleged impropriety over purchase of a land belonging to the government-owned MIDC in Pune at a throwaway price.