May 23, 2016 1:25:10 am
The Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has given a clean chit to state Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse in the Rs 30-crore bribe demand matter.
The agency has submitted a status report on the investigations in the case to the Chief Minister, where it has categorically mentioned that the “investigations so far haven’t revealed any evidence to suggest that the Minister (Khadse) had demanded a bribe”.
The Indian Express accessed the status report, which also appears to deny the involvement of anyone from Khadse’s official staff in the controversy.
The ACB on May 13 arrested Gajanan Patil, Khadse’s close associate, from outside the Mantralaya gate for allegedly demanding a Rs 30-crore bribe from Mumbai-based entrepreneur Ramesh Jadhav in a land allotment matter that Khadse’s office had handled.
While Khadse had distanced himself from the controversy almost immediately after Patil’s arrest, and denied the involvement of anyone from his official staff in the controversy, the Opposition sought his resignation, and has been pressing for the interrogation of his Officer on Special Duty Unmesh Mahajan, and his Private Secretary Shantaram Bhoi.
The Opposition has argued that the ACB’s FIR contains recorded conversations between Patil and Jadhav, where the former has alluded on more than one occasion that the bribe figure had been conveyed by one ‘Saheb’ and one ‘Unmesh’.
The ACB’s status report concedes that Patil had indeed named “one Saheb, Unmesh and Bhoi” during a conversation with Jadhav on September 22, 2015. But it adds that “investigations carried out so far reveal that neither Mahajan, nor Bhoi had raised the bribe demand”. The agency has even stated that another OSD Shyamsunder Patil, who handles revenue department matters in Khadse’s office, too had not been found to have raised any bribe demand.
The report claims the agency had verified the complaint 12 times since September 22. It also says “Khadse was not in office when Patil raised the bribe demand to Rs 30 crore on May 5, 2016”.
On Saturday, Mumbai Police denied allegations that Khadse had received phone calls from underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s Karachi residence.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.