MUMBAI: Senior city BJP leader Raj Purohit was on Friday caught on camera accusing the party top brass of taking money from influential party leader Mangal Prabhat Lodha for his “promotion”.
A news channel aired a sting operation involving Purohit, in which he had made scandalous allegations against senior party leaders.
“I am one of the most senior leaders in the party, next to only Eknath Khadse (Revenue Minister). Still, they have not inducted me into the Cabinet. This is because money speaks,” Purohita, a five-time legislator, said in the video.
He referred to Lodha as a rich person and suggested that he became rich after senior leader Pramod Mahajan’s murder. “He buys everything. He has given money at the top to become a minister,” Purohit said.
There is a rumour doing the rounds within the party that Lodha, a real estate developer and four-time legislator, will be made Minister in the state Cabinet’s expansion, which is likely to take place in the first week of July. When a person, not seen in the video, asks Purohit whether he did not share good relations with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, he replied, “I roam about with him every day. Still, he is not making me (Minister).”
He alleged that the business community in the country was unhappy over Modi Government’s certain decisions, including the move to unearth black money.
“Half the country’s economy runs on black money... I interact daily with the top businessmen... Don’t interfere in everything... Let things continue as they are...” Purohit advised. State BJP president Raosaheb Danve said that the party would conduct a test to ascertain the authenticity of the footage.
“The party’s disciplinary action committee will look into the matter. We will sack Purohit if he is found guilty,” Danve said.
Purohit, in the meantime, has claimed that the video is fabricated.
“The voice in this footage is not mine. I respect the Prime Minister and the party president. I can’t make any comment against them. I also trust the leadership of Devendra Fadnavis. There should be a forensic testing of the footage,” he said.
Purohit was Minister of State for Urban Development in the BJP-Shiv Sena Government between 1995 and 1999.
He was then accused of allotting hundreds of acres of land under the the Urban Land Ceiling and Regulation Act to certain persons at a throwaway price.
“Hang him if found guilty,” Khadse had famously said when Purohit was made city BJP president three years ago.