Mumbai: Former Bharatiya Janata Party minister Eknath Khadse received a shot in the arm after the inquiry commission headed by retired Justice Dinkar Zoting did not conclude any illegality in his family members purchasing land in Pune.
The inquiry commission was appointed after allegations of Khadse’s family members purchasing land that belonged to MIDC, for less than 10 per cent of its market price.
The commission held that while the transaction was wrong on ‘moral grounds’, there was nothing illegal in it, a senior official close to the development said. This may open an opportunity for Khadse, who is the strongest challenger to CM Devendra Fadnavis in the state, to make a comeback in the state cabinet.
Bowing before pressure from all sections, the Zoting committee was appointed in 2016 and had been given three months time to submit the report. After number of extensions, the committee submitted the report on June 30 to the government.
The report said "It is morally not correct for a person who is holding a ministry to get involved in such a land deal. But we have not found sufficient evidences against him to hold him guilty by law."
The report has sort of given a clean chit to Khadse in the land deal case that has sparked news that he would be inducted into the cabinet once again. The sources said that this is a relief for Khadse, who was away from the government activities for a year. Also, there were other allegations on him about receiving calls from underworld don in which police gave him clean chit. His PA was caught taking bribe in which Khadse was given clean chit too.
However, Khadse had quit the ministry in June last year in the wake of a string of allegations, including irregularities in the Pune MIDC land deal.
In April this year, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) registered an FIR against Khadse, his wife, son-in-law and original owner of the land in connection with alleged irregularities in the purchase of the land....