Eknath Khadse questioned by the ED for over nine hours

Under the scanner:  NCP leader Eknath Khadse (centre) reaches the Enforcement Directorate office in Mumbai on Thursday.

Under the scanner: NCP leader Eknath Khadse (centre) reaches the Enforcement Directorate office in Mumbai on Thursday.

Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Eknath Khadse, who joined the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) last year was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for over nine hours on Thursday. The probe comes a day after his son-in-law was arrested by the agency in the alleged money laundering case related to a land deal in Pune.

Mr. Khadse said that he has received a clean chit in every probe conducted against him and the ongoing investigation by the ED is nothing but politically motivated witch-hunting as he had dared to quit the BJP.

“The only reason why I am being targeted is that I joined the NCP and quit the BJP. I have been questioned five times in the past. How many times do they want to probe me?” he asked.

Mr. Khadse came out of the ED office at 8.15 p.m. His lawyer said that Mr. Khadse was ready to co-operate with the agency even in future and would appear if he was needed again. “We have given the documents sought by the ED and will also provide more documents in the next 10 days,” the lawyer said.

The ED on Wednesday arrested Mr. Khadse’s son-in-law Girish Chaudhari in a money laundering case related to the land deal. Agency sources claimed that after questioning him for several hours on Tuesday, he refused to provide answers to several questions and as a result, he had to be arrested.

In 2016, it was alleged that as a Revenue Minister in the then State government led by Devendra Fadnavis, Mr. Khadse used his official position to influence officials for purchasing 3.1 acres at Bhosri in Pune at a cost of ₹3.75 crore againts its reported value of ₹31.01 crore.

Acting on orders issued by the Bombay High Court, the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) of the Maharashtra Police registered an FIR against Mr. Khadse, his wife Mandakini and Mr. Choudhari. Based on that, the ED also registered a money laundering case against the leader.

Mr. Khadse’s party, the NCP, slammed the BJP alleging that it was using Central agencies to corner its opponents. “Not a single allegation against Khadse has been proven. He followed all the rules before purchasing the land. This investigation is nothing but to corner him politically,” said NCP State president Jayant Patil.

When asked for his response, former chief minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis said that he was not the spokesperson of the ED and the agency did not act on the BJP’s instructions.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2022 6:37:22 am |