Former minister Eknath Khadse said party took high moral ground on allegations made by ‘irrelevant people’Former BJP minister Eknath Khadse made a veiled attack against Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday for taking the corruption charges levelled against him by a “handful of irrelevant people” seriously and ruining the 40 long years of his political career.
Khadse gave vent to his anger and disappointment at being divested of the ministerial post following a series of corruption charges by questioning his own party for acting against him on mere allegations “without seeking adequate proof” from those “tarnishing” his image. “I am not hankering for a ministerial post, nor am I am going to be bogged down by such baseless charges of corruption. The truth will be out soon. I am not afraid of anybody.
What has really hurt me is (that) a handful of irrelevant ‘gulli people’ like Anjali Damania, Preeti Menon raised charges against me. And based on their charges and media trial, my party adopted the high moral ground and took the decision against me,” he said in the Legislative Assembly Thursday.
“During the last 40 years, I have painstakingly built the party from scratch when it had no base. I have struggled to build the organisation and played the role of an effective opposition leader. And here, listening to some allegations, within a minute, you curtail the illustrious political career of a leader,” said Khadse.
Adopting a high-pitched tone, Khadse was however cautious enough not to name Fadnavis or BJP president Amit Shah, but he indirectly raised questions regarding the decision taken by the party on moral grounds.
Khadse, who was the senior most minister in the BJP-led government, was forced to resign in the first week of June. The cases of corruption in a Pune land deal are being probed by a retired judge.
Maintaining that he committed no wrong, Khadse repeatedly thanked Opposition parties for starting a debate on scams against government ministers in the ongoing monsoon session. He said, “I am really grateful to you for bringing the debate in the Assembly on scams. At least, on that pretext, as an MLA, I got an opportunity to speak in the Assembly and explain my point of view. Otherwise, where was the scope to express facts? Who would I speak to? Where would I have aired my views?”Khadse said the Anti-Corruption Bureau had given him a clean chit on the allegation that he made a phone call to the wife of fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim in Pakistan. “Similarly, in the bribery case against my personal assistant Gajanan Patil, I have been absolved as I had no role in the matter,” he said.
Khadse said while the Bhosari (Pune) land case was under investigation, he had repeatedly said there was “no violation of rules or any corruption in the purchase of land by my family”.
Khadse was sarcastic as he hit out at his rivals both within and outside: “It is my misfortune that even my enemies have no class.” As he said in Hindi, “Meri Badnasibi hain ki, mere dushman bhi khandani nahi hain.”
The former minister said, “All those pitted against me to tarnish my image are the likes of Anjali Damania, Preeti Menon et al. All are women. Where is the ‘purushgiri’, manhood? In case of the phone call to Dawood, I was accused of making repeated calls to his wife… At least, if Congress-NCP had made allegations, I would have taken it in my stride as it is part of politics.”
Khadse said he would like to warn Opposition leaders not to allow such “baseless trial by media” or by “non-relevant people” suddenly raising allegations “without any documents”. “All 40 years of hard work comes to an end,” he said.