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Maharashtra minister Khadse quits

Eknath Khadse

    
Mumbai : In the eye of a storm over allegations of corruption including irregularities in a land deal, Maharashtra Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse today resigned from the post.

The move came after the central leadership of the BJP sent him a clear and stern signal that he had no option but to quit since his continuance would damage the image of the ministry led by the party.

Khadse handed over his resignation to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis whom he met at his official residence ‘Varsha’ here, two days after the latter briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah over the issue.

Considered “number two” in the Cabinet handling some vital portfolios, Khadse has been facing heat over a series of allegations including irregularities in a land deal in Pune and calls allegedly received from mob boss Dawood Ibrahim’s residence in Karachi on his mobile phone besides the alleged bribe sought by his “PA”.

He is in a spot over the purchase of a three-acre Maharashtra Industrial Development Corp land in Pune allegedly at a low price of around Rs 3.75 crore from its original owner in the name of his wife and son-in-law. The market value of the land is reportedly Rs 40 crore.

An unfazed Khadse had till last evening said that he has not received any directive from the BJP central leadership on the charges against him which he dubbed as “baseless”.

However, the central leadership sent him a clear and stern signal that he had no option but to quit since his continuance would damage the image of the ministry led by the party and give leverage to the opposition to challenge the BJP’s commitment to provide corruption-free rule.

Not only the opposition Congress and the NCP, but all Shiv Sena also demanded that Khadse be forced out of the cabinet.

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