Nagpur: NCP leader and former Union minister Praful Patel has claimed that the Devendra Fadnavis government is shielding former Maharashtra minister Eknath Khadse who had resigned in the wake of a series of charges against him.
"We were always sceptical about the ACB probe. The manner in which the government was shielding Khadse, it was crystal clear that he would be protected," Patel said referring to media reports on the investigating agency giving a 'clean chit' to Khadse in a bribery case involving his personal assistant Gajanan Patil.
According to reports, the ACB chargesheet in the case does not name the controversial BJP leader, thus giving him a clean chit. However, Patil, is indicted for allegedly demanding a bribe on Khadse's behalf.
Among other charges, Khadse was accused of alleged irregularity in buying a Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) plot at Bhosari in Pune.
The former Union minister also criticised the proposed inquiry to be conducted by a retired High Court Judge and demanded that the probe should be under Commission of Inquiry Act.
"This probe is another attempt to save Khadse who is under scanner for questionable land deals by his family members and brazen misuse of office by him," Patel told reporters here yesterday on the sidelines of a Eid function.
The NCP leader also launched a frontal attack on the state government over alleged deterioration in law and order and took potshots at Fadnavis for inducting alleged tainted individuals in the state cabinet.
The allegations against ministers in Fadnavis' government are on the rise and with this addition of tainted people, all are perturbed, Patel claimed.
Reacting on the trouble in violence-hit Kashmir valley, Patel claimed that the Centre "over-relied" on personal warmth between leaders overlooking the harsh realities of international politics and criticised the PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir as well the NDA for "inept handling" of the situation.
He also criticised Narendra Modi government for its decision to impose President's rule in Uttarakhand first and recently in Arunachal Pradesh.