Senior NCP leader Eknath Khadse received summons from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) asking him to be present at its Mumbai office on December 30. The central investigating agency is likely to probe the money laundering angle in the Bhosri land deal case, in which the land was allegedly bought at an undervalued price.
Khadse confirmed to HT that he had received the notice and would be going to the ED office. He joined the Sharad Pawar-led NCP in October this year.
The former BJP heavyweight is facing trouble following allegations of graft and conflict of interest in a land deal in Bhosri near Pune in 2016. The plot was bought by his wife Mandakini Khadse and son-in-law, Girish Choudhary for Rs 3.75 crore against the prevalent market rate of Rs 30 crore, it is said.
“He wants to harass me and thus the same case is being probed again and again by different agencies,” Khadse said without taking any name. He has blamed former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis for all his miseries in the past four years.
“The land was bought at Rs 3.75 crore and the government has already spent Rs 14 crore to 15 crore on various probes. The case was investigated twice by anti-corruption bureau, once by Pune ACB and another time by Nashik ACB. Pune has submitted its closure report before the court. The state had spent Rs 3 crore to Rs 4 crore on Zoting committee (appointed by the erstwhile Devendra Fadnavis government) to probe the same case. It was also probed by the Income Tax department. In all this will be the fifth probe in the same land deal,” Khadse said stressing that he has been targeted.
In Dhule, he told reporters that people from across the state have called and expressed sympathy with him. “They also felt that this is a kind of injustice. It appears that they didn’t like the probes one after the other but decisions have been made and we have to follow them,” he commented.
The investigation closure report of the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) Pune has given a clean chit to the former revenue minister. In its report filed before the Pune court in 2018, ACB Pune had said that there was no evidence that Khadse was aware that his wife and son-in-law had purchased the plot.
Khadse was a prominent leader of the BJP from north Maharashtra and enjoys a significant hold in the region. He comes from Leva Patil, one of the OBC communities, that has a sizable population in north Maharashtra.
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