Embattled Maharashtra Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse today said that he resigned from his post to “uphold moral values” in BJP and that the party was standing firmly behind him over the “baseless” allegations.
“For the last 40 years, I have been working in politics and the party but have not experienced a media trial like this before,” Mr Khadse told reporters at the state BJP office soon after he met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to submit his resignation.
“There has been an unprecedented media trial against me. I have demanded to Fadnavis that there should be a probe into the allegations.
“BJP is firmly behind me and even tomorrow it will stand behind me. The party has always abided by moral values. BJP is of the opinion that one should not continue to hold posts in face of allegations,” he said.
On the allegations by a Pune-based builder Hemant Gawande that he purchased a land in MIDC area of Bhosari near Pune in the name of his wife, the BJP leader said, “The revenue department has said that no transaction regarding the MIDC plot purchase is illegal.”
“Had the land really belonged to MIDC, the corporation’s name would have been in the concerned documents. I suggested to police to file FIR against the person who was illegally trying to usurp Pune agricultural college land worth Rs. 400 crore.
“I issued a GR on taking back Wakf land illegally taken over by some people and they will naturally bear the brunt of that decision,” Mr Khadse said, in a veiled reference to allegations that bigwigs affected by that GR may have been behind the campaign to dislodge him.
“The allegations levelled by Congress and AAP are baseless. Allegations have been made against senior BJP leaders Advani and Gadkari in the past,” he said.
“Police have said that no call was made or received on my mobile from Dawood Ibrahim,” Mr Khadse said referring to hacker Manish Bhangale’s claim.
“A hacker means a thief and hacking is an offence of treason. If they can’t furnish proof, action should be taken against those making such false charges,” he said.
On allegations by fishermen’s associations who accused him of favouring the purse seine net fishing vessels and claimed that there was a deal of Rs. 15 crore to tweak the rules in favour of these purse-seine net fishing vessels, Mr Khadse said he had taken no such decision.
Referring to the state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) arresting his personal aide Gajanan Patil for allegedly demanding a Rs. 30 crore bribe from a Mumbai-based social entrepreneur over a land allotment matter, the senior BJP leader said, “I had rejected the concerned proposal. So, how can one claim that Rs. 30 crore was demanded by Gajanan Patil.”
“I have been saying that if there is even an iota of truth in the allegations, I won’t stay in the post,” Mr Khadse added.