MUMBAI: Stating that Eknath Khadse was forced to resign as he was facing serious charges of corruption, Congress today demanded a high level investigation into the allegations against the BJP leader.
"Only resignation will not do. We want a high level judicial inquiry into the scams involving Khadse. We don't trust this government, which may sabotage the investigation," Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan told PTI. "It is good that he has resigned. But it is a delayed decision. The BJP had no option since the charges against Khadse like the MIDC land deal and Dawood call allegation are very serious in nature," Chavan, a former chief minister, said.
Congress leader and former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said the resignation of Khadse was inevitable. The real political decision, however, is how high a level the government would take the matter, he said.
Former AAP leader Anjali Damania, who is on a hunger strike demanding Khadse's resignation for the last three days, said this was the initial victory for her after exposing Khadse's wrongdoings. "I will continue my hunger strike till a time-bound inquiry is ordered against Khadse because there has been a trend that such leaders involved in corruption cases are politically rehabilitated by making them governors of other states," Damania said.
AAP national spokesperson Preeti Sharma Menon said, "We are relieved that finally, after he was totally exposed in past few weeks, BJP removed Khadse from office." "Khadse's resignation is a small development. What is important is ordering an inquiry into the wrongdoings of the minister," Damania said.
Describing Khadse as "Bhujbal of BJP", she said if an inquiry was not ordered to probe Khadse's transactions, he might be made the Governor of some state and everything would be forgotten. "He should not go unpunished," she said. Damania added that she has also planned to meet anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare who has been guiding her in the campaign against injustice.
Pune-based developer Hemant Gavande had first highlighted Khadse's controversial land deal at Bhosari, Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) here which apparently clinched the issue with the BJP high command. He said he would continue his legal fight.
Welcoming Khadse's resignation, Gavande told reporters, "My fight is a legal one. If police do not file an FIR in the complaint given by me in connection with the Bhosari MIDC land transaction, I will file a PIL to press the matter". He also demanded an inquiry into the irregular deal by a retired judge saying Khadse was involved in "misuse of power" as state Revenue minister in unlawfully purchasing the government land.
It was Gavande's initial allegation that led to a series of disclosures in connection with Khadse's land deal in Pune. Gavande accused the minister of grabbing the industrial plot of MIDC at a very low price of around Rs 3.75 crore misusing his position when the market value of the land was to the tune of Rs 40 crore.