ED summons Eknath Khadse in land scam case

ED summons former BJP leader Eknath Khadse in land scam case

Khadse (68) had recently left the BJP, a party with which he had been associated for close to four decades, and joined the Sharad Pawar-led NCP

In a development much on expected lines, the Enforcement Directorate has summoned veteran politician Eknath Khadse in an old alleged land scam case.

Khadse (68) had recently left the BJP, a party with which he had been associated for close to four decades, and joined the Sharad Pawar-led NCP.

The senior politician from Maharashtra’s Khandesh region has blamed Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis for his leaving the BJP.

“I have not done anything wrong and I am not at all worried,” Khadse said, confirming the ED notice.

Khadse has been asked to appear before the ED office in Mumbai on December 30.

In fact, in October, the day Khadse said that he was sure that the BJP would target him with ED. “Let me tell you if they have ED, I have the CD,” Khadse had said without going into the details.

Khadse, who was the Revenue Minister in the Fadnavis-government, had to resign in the wake of his name being dragged in a land scam.

In his complaint to the Bund Garden police station in Pune on May 30, 2016, builder and real estate developer Hemant Gawande had alleged that Khadse misused his power as a minister and purchased land in Bhosari area, owned by Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), in the name of his wife and son-in-law at the cost of Rs 3.75 crore, as against the market price of Rs 40 crore.

The state government had initiated a probe by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB). Besides, he had also faced a probe by Justice MD Zoning, a retired Bombay High Court judge. Khadse had got a clean chit in both inquiries. 

Meanwhile, NCP and Shiv Sena have reacted sharply against the development. “We are not at all surprised…this was to happen,” senior NCP leader and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said.

“This (BJP-led) Central government always targets political opponents with central agencies,” NCP leader Nawab Malik said.

In the past too NCP leaders have been targeted by the Centre, he said, referring to the ED notices against NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel.

Shiv Sena chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut said that the Centre was targeting political opponents through central agencies.

It needs to be mentioned that Khadse's exit from the BJP has strengthened the tri-party alliance Maha Vikas Aghadi.

Khadse's name, along with 11 others were sent to Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari for a nomination to the state's Council. However, the names from the Governor's quota are yet to be cleared by him.