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Maharashtra: Khadse gets Lokayukta clearance in ‘PA’ bribery case

Lokayukta of Maharashtra, Justice (Retd) ML Tahaliyani has given a clean chit to former state revenue minister Eknath Khadse in the bribery case in which his “personal assistant” Gajanan Patil was involved and Khadse was indirectly linked in the case. Patil was arrested last month for allegedly demanding a ₹30 crore bribe in a land allotment issue.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) arrested Patil in May, for allegedly demanding the bribe from Mumbai-based entrepreneur Ramesh Jadhav in a land allotment matter. The Lokayukta heard the complainant and senior ACB officials on May 27, before passing the order.

The Lokayukta report stated at least 12 recordings of the conversation between the complainant Jadhav and Gajanan Patil were made.

“The transcription doesn’t indicate that either the Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse or any of his employees were involved in the alleged demand made by the accused Gajanan Patil,” the Lokayukta said. “The complaint needs to be closed and is accordingly closed”, Lokayukta added.

“The complainant has many other grievances against the government including the lacklustre attitude of the government to his request for allotment of land for educational purpose and other work,” the Lokayukta said.

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday had expressed confidence that Khadse will emerge clean from the investigation into allegations against him. “I am confident that Nathabhau (Khadse) will emerge clean from this ‘Agnipariksha’ (test by fire),” Fadnavis had said.

The Maharashtra ACB had also given a clean chit to Khadse in the ₹30-crore bribery case. The ACB had 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 proof to suggest that the minister had demanded a bribe”.

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