New Delhi: The Congress Party on Saturday dubbed the resignation of Maharashtra Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse as a 'mere drama', and said a criminal case should be registered against him for misuse of public office.
Khadse resigned from his post following allegations of impropriety with regard to a land deal and alleged calls from underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
"Resignation drama alone will not do. There are clear cut charges that he was talking to the dreaded terrorist Dawood Ibrahim. The charge is that he has taken government land for a pittance of three crores, 21 lakhs when it is valued at nearly 30-40 crore of rupees. The charge is that he as a minister himself presided over a meeting and ordered double compensation for that land, direct beneficiaries of which were his own family members," Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told ANI.
"Would these charges get washed away by mere resignation? The answer is clearly no. A criminal case should be registered against him for misuse of public office. A fair and independent judicial probe must be held into the terrorist links if any of Khadse," he added.
"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 on Saturday met Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis amid reports that the BJP has begun the process to act against him.
The most senior minister in the Fadnavis government is facing serious allegation over an illicit land deal and his cellphone allegedly appearing in the call records of most-wanted gangster Dawood Ibrahim.
Khadse has maintained the land was not owned by the government, that he bought it from a private party, and that he paid the stamp duty or tax on the market value of the plot which he says proves that the deal was above-board.