MUMBAI: Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Thursday said that he has always stood up for former prime minister Indira Gandhi whenever people have targeted her.
"The respect that I have always shown towards Indira Gandhi, Pandit Nehru, Rajiv Gandhi and the Gandhi family, despite being in opposition, nobody has done it. Whenever people have targeted Indira Gandhi, I have stood up for her," said Raut.
"Many political people used to come to meet Karim Lala, times were different back then. He was a leader of the Pathan community, he had come from Afghanistan. So, people used to meet him over the problems faced by the Pathan community," he added.
His statement came a day after he claimed Indira Gandhi used to go and meet yesteryear don Karim Lala in Mumbai.
Indira ji was a true patriot who never compromised on India’s national security.— Milind Deora मिलिंद देवरा (@milinddeora) January 16, 2020
As former @INCMumbai President, I demand that @rautsanjay61 ji withdraws his ill-informed statement.
Political leaders must show restraint before distorting the legacies of deceased Prime Ministers
"There was a time when Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Shakeel, Sharad Shetty used to decide who would be Police Commissioner of Mumbai and who would sit in the 'Mantralaya'. Indira Gandhi used to go and meet Karim Lala. We've seen that underworld, now it's just 'chillar'," Raut said yesterday.
Lala operated in smuggling, narcotics, gambling, forced property evictions, and extortion rackets in Mumbai for over two decades. He died in 2002 at the age of 90.
The Shiv Sena leader also claimed that he has photographed the fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim and has even threatened him.
"I have conducted a photo session of Dawood Ibrahim and others. There are a few people in the country who have seen and talked to Dawood Ibrahim. I have seen him, talked to him several times and even threatened him but that was a different time.