Maharashtra Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse resigns over land scam allegations, link with Dawood Ibrahim
According to reports, the top brass was reportedly asked to quit over land deal scam, links with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
Mumbai: Maharashtra Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse, who has been under the attack for alleged dubious land deal and suspected underworld links, on Saturday tendered his resignation to state Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Khadse handed over his resignation to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis whom he met at his official residence 'Varsha' here early today, two days after the latter briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah over the issue.
An unfazed Khadse had till last evening said that he has not received any directive from the BJP central leadership on the charges against him which he dubbed as "baseless".
According to PTI reports, Khadse was asked to quit from his post by BJP high command.
Reportedly, the central leadership of the BJP sent him a clear and stern signal that he had no option but to quit since his continuance would damage the image of the ministry led by the party.
As per the reports, the party also indicated that the row over allegations that he received phone calls from underworld don Dawood Ibrahim too was not handled responsibly.
Meanwhile, National Congress Party has demanded a 'free and fair' probe into the matter.
On Thursday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Fadnavis had met BJP president Amit Shah and submitted a report on the twin charges against Khadse of an illicit land deal and alleged connection with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
"I have submitted a factual report on recent developments to Amit Shahji and also held discussions over the issue. Now, the party will direct us on further steps that need to be taken," Fadanvis had quoted then.
Reports also stated that Fadnavis would also be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the 'Khadse' issue. Sources in the BJP said that the Prime Minister will take a final decision over the matter after consultation with Shah and senior cabinet colleagues.
Considered 'Number 2' in the Cabinet handling some vital portfolios, Khadse, one of the most senior ministers in Maharashtra government, was mired in a fresh controversy this week as a Pune-based businessman accused him, his wife and son-in-law of various irregularities in the purchase of a piece of land.
He is in a spot over the purchase of a three-acre Maharashtra Industrial Development Corp land in Pune allegedly at a low price of around Rs 3.75 crore from its original owner in the name of his wife and son-in-law. The market value of the land is reportedly Rs 40 crore.
Khadse is also facing allegations that mafia don Dawood Ibrahim had made multiple calls to him from his landline number in Karachi, where he is believed to be living as a fugitive.
The BJP's ally Shiv Sena and social worker Anna Hazare have been mounting pressure for Khadse's resignation.