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I take back my statement, says Sanjay Raut after remarks against Indira Gandhi

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Mumbai, Jan 16: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Thursday said that seemed to backtrack from his earlier remark claiming Indira Gandhi had met Mumbai gangster Karim Lala.

''Our friends from Congress need not feel hurt. If someone feels that my statement has hurt the image of Indira Gandhi ji or hurt someone's feelings, I take back my statement,'' he said.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut

Causing much embarrassment to his new Maharashtra ally, the Shiv Sena leader had claimed that former prime minister Indira Gandhi would come to Mumbai to meet yesteryear don Karim Lala.

Earlier in the day, Congress leaders Milind Deora and Sanjay Nirupam asked Raut to withdraw his 'ill-informed' remarks that former prime minister Indira Gandhi met underworld don Karim Lala.

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Deora, who is the former Union minister, described Gandhi as a 'true patriot who never compromised on India's national security'.

Raut, whose party is part of the ruling alliance with the Congress and NCP in Maharashtra, on Wednesday claimed that Gandhi met Karim Lala in Mumbai.

Karim Lala was one of the three top underworld dons of Mumbai for over two decades, from the sixties to the early eighties, the other two being Mastan Mirza alias Haji Mastan and Varadarajan Mudaliar.

Deora said politicians should refrain from "distorting" legacies of prime ministers who are no more. "Indira ji was a true patriot who never compromised on India's national security," he said in a tweet.

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During an interview to the Lokmat media group at its award function in Pune, Raut claimed, "When (underworld don) Haji Mastan came to Mantralaya, the entire secretariat would come down to see him. Indira Gandhi used to meet Karim Lala in Pydhonie (in south Mumbai)."

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