To placate Congress, Sanjay Raut withdraws statement on Indira

Milind Deora says Sanjay Raut's remark on Indira Gandhi meeting Karim Lala 'ill-informed'

Milind Deora says Sanjay Raut's remark on Indira Gandhi meeting Karim Lala 'ill-informed'

In a bid to placate Congress leaders miffed over his remark that former PM Indira Gandhi used to meet figures from the Mumbai underworld, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut Thursday said he was withdrawing his statement.

At an event in Pune earlier this week, Raut had claimed underworld operators used to wield a lot of influence in Mumbai’s politics and society and at one point, even late PM Indira Gandhi visited a don like Karim Lala. “Haji Mastan used to visit Mantralaya and was treated as an honoured guest. Indira Gandhi used to visit Karim Lala. Those were the days of the underworld dons. Today Mumbai is not like that,” Raut said at the event.

Karim Lala was known to operate liquor dens, gambling and extortion rackets and was a notorious name in Mumbai underworld for nearly two decades. On Wednesday, Raut said that he thought the former PM met Karim Lala as he was a “leader of the Pathan community”.

Raut’s statement had miffed Congress leaders, with many of them demanding that he withdraw it.

The Sena MP said he did not mean to hurt the feelings of Congress workers. “There have been many times in past where I have defended Indira Gandhi against criticism. If someone feels that my statement has hurt the image of Indira Gandhi-ji or someone’s feelings, I take back my statement,” Raut said.

The Congress leadership said the issue stands closed, but added that it would not tolerate such attacks on its leaders in the future.