Surrounded by severe graft charges relating to land deals and alleged phone conversations with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, Maharashtra Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse resigned to his cabinet position on Saturday.
Miffed by demand for a resignation, the second in command in Maharasthra BJP has put in his papers after meeting Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Khadse is the first BJP leader to resign after Modi government came to power.
“Eknath Khadse has offered his resignation to CM on moral grounds,” said Maharashtra BJP President Raosaheb Danve
In his defence, Eknath Khadse termed the incident a media driven campaign and said he has never seen such orchestrated effort in 40 years
“I have never seen such kind of a media trial. No one has been able to give any proof till now. I have requested CM to investigate the issue, if you (media) have proof then you can also provide it,” said Khadse
Earlierin the day, Khadse who has been living in jalagaon after the controversy erupted came to Mumbai on Saturday mooring to hold discussions with Chief Minister CM Fadnavis at his Varsha bunglow in Mumbai and discussed with him on issues that has been alleged against him
Stating that Eknath Khadse was forced to resign as he was facing serious charges of corruption, Congress today demanded a high level investigation into the allegations against the BJP leader.
Stepping up pressure on Eknath Khadse Congress asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take “decisive action” against him to prove PM’s claim of ‘zero tolerance to corruption’.
“Only resignation will not do. We want a high level judicial inquiry into the scams involving Khadse. We don’t trust this government, which may sabotage the investigation,” said Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan.
Aam Admi Party national too joined in the attack on BJP, the party’s spokesperson Preeti Sharma Menon said, “Weare relieved that finally, after he was totally exposed in past few weeks, BJP removed Khadse from office.”
On Thursday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s meet with BJP’s national president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and submitted a report.
“Party will decide appropriate action,” the Chief Minister told reporters after meeting Amit Shah.
The three-acre land in question belongs to Maharashtra Industrial Development Corp land in Pune which is allegedly bought over by khadse 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.
He is also alleged to receive calls from underworld Don Dawood Ibrahim’s residence in Karachi on his mobile phone.
Eknath Khadse represents Muktainagar constituency in Maharashtra assembly which he has been representing for past 30 years. He served as the Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in November 2010. Khadse previously served as Finance Minister and Irrigation Minister in state cabinet.