Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today dismissed as “unsubstantiated” the allegations levelled by Aam Aadmi Party against his cabinet colleague Eknath Khadse that calls were made to the latter’s mobile phone from underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s house in Karachi.
“The report of ATS chief is very clear. There are neither incoming nor outgoing international calls from the cell number of Eknath Khadse, neither to the fugitive (gangster) nor to anyone else. It is not proper to target a senior minister without substantiated evidence. We condemn such act (of levelling allegations by AAP) and expect that the standards in politics will be maintained,” Fadnavis told PTI tonight.
He was apparently referring to the Mumbai Police virtually giving a clean chit to Khadse in the matter.
The CM’s rushing to the defence of the Revenue Minister assumes significance as the seniormost BJP member is viewed as a detractor of Fadnavis.
Khadse had recently found himself in a spot after his ‘personal assistant’ was arrested by ACB for allegedly demanding a bribe of Rs 30 crore in a land settlement case.
AAP spokesperson Preeti Sharma Menon had yesterday alleged that calls were made from Dawood’s mansion to Khadse’s mobile phone and had sought his removal from cabinet, a charge dismissed by the minister as “baseless”.
Sharma Menon had claimed that Khadse lied about his phone being out of service.
“His number received several calls from Dawood Ibrahim’s wife Mehjabeen Shaikh’s number between September 4 2015 to April 5, 2016,” she claimed and asked Mumbai Police to investigate the matter.
In his response, Khadse had said, “no international call was made from or received on this phone in last one year”.