Khadse innocent, but BJP wrongfully targeting him: NCP on ED probe

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Mumbai, Jul 8 (PTI) The NCP on Thursday came out in support of its leader Eknath Khadse, who is facing an inquiry by the ED in connection with a Pune land deal case, with the party saying that although he was innocent, the BJP, which is in power at the Centre, was wrongfully targeting him.

Khadse, 68, appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) here in connection with its probe into the money laundering case on Thursday, a day after his son-in-law Girish Chaudhari was arrested by the agency in the case.

Sulking since his unceremonious exit from the Devendra Fadnavis-led Maharashtra cabinet in 2016 over the land grab allegations, Khadse had left the BJP to join the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) helmed by Sharad Pawar last year.

The NCP currently shares power with the Shiv Sena and the Congress in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state.

Talking to reporters, NCP’s Maharashtra unit president and state water resources minister Jayant Patil said the manner in which his party (NCP) had gracefully inducted Khadse has unsettled the BJP.

'Khadse is innocent and he will be cleared of the charges. But the BJP is wrongfully targeting him,' Patil said.

The case in which the former BJP strongman from Jalgaon is being questioned has not yielded any proof against him, the NCP leader said.

“The previous inquiries have failed to implicate Khadse. The land in question was purchased legally,' he added.

Patil also alleged that the BJP had systematically sidelined Khadse, an OBC leader.

Speaking to reporters earlier in the day, Khadse said the ED inquiry was a conspiracy to defame him, and added that it was initiated as he quit the BJP.

The ED has alleged that Chaudhari and Khadse had purchased the government land in Bhosari near Pune for Rs 3.75 crore when the actual cost of the land as per the valuation provided by the sub-registrar was Rs 31.01 crore. PTI MR NP NP

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