Despite strictures over Pune land deal, Eknath Khadse set to return as minister
Despite a one-man inquiry commission passing strictures against senior Maharashtra BJP leader Eknath Khadse in the Pune land deal case, he is all set to return as a minister. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is expected to hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah over re-inducting the former minister into the cabinet.
The official number two in the Maharashtra government, Khadse, was forced to resign as the Revenue Minister following allegations of being involved in a land scam in Pune. Fadnavis had, in 2016, appointed Justice D S Zoting, a former judge of the Bombay High Court, to probe the charges against him. The report was submitted to the government on June 30 but despite the report not giving a clean chit to Khadse and passing strictures against him, the Maharashtra Chief Minister is mulling re-inducting Khadse into the cabinet.
While the report does not recommend criminal proceedings against Eknath Khadse, the committee is said to have made observations against him. The ball is now in Devendra Fadnavis' court and senior ministers in the Maharashtra government are confident that talks are underway to re-induct the tainted former minister.
Khadse had resigned in 2016 after which an inquiry committee was set up to probe allegations levelled against him. Earlier in June this year, Amit Shah held a closed-door meeting with Khadse during his visit to Mumbai fueling speculation that Khadse's reinduction was imminent. While Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is also not averse to Khadse's entry, an FIR against him in the same case may prove a deterrent.