Opposition demands BJP minister Girish Mahajan’s resignation over Dawood link | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Opposition demands BJP minister Girish Mahajan’s resignation over Dawood link

Dec 19, 2023 01:45 AM IST

The opposition on Monday claimed BJP minister Girish Mahajan had attended Dawood’s niece’s wedding and demanded his resignation

Days after the ruling party legislators accused Shiv Sena (UBT)’s Nashik head Sudhakar Badgujar of partying with Dawood Ibrahim’s aide Mohammed Salim Mira Shaikh, the opposition on Monday claimed BJP minister Girish Mahajan had attended Dawood’s niece’s wedding and demanded his resignation. Soon, a heated exchange of words ensued leading to a walkout by the opposition members from the council.

Nagpur:18December2023 Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council Ambadas Danve interact with media showing photograph of BJP MLA and State Minister Girish Mahajan and some others leaders associated with the State Government attended the wedding of muslim religios leaders from Nashik having connection with Dawood Ibrahim, during the winter session of Maharashtra State Assembly, at Vidhan Bhawan Nagpur. Monday. Dec 18, 2023. Photo by Sunny Shende
Nagpur:18December2023 Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council Ambadas Danve interact with media showing photograph of BJP MLA and State Minister Girish Mahajan and some others leaders associated with the State Government attended the wedding of muslim religios leaders from Nashik having connection with Dawood Ibrahim, during the winter session of Maharashtra State Assembly, at Vidhan Bhawan Nagpur. Monday. Dec 18, 2023. Photo by Sunny Shende

Deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who also holds the home portfolio, last week ordered the constitution of a special investigative team to probe Badgujar’s alleged association with Shaikh after BJP MLA Nitesh Rane produced photographs and video clips.

Shaikh, who goes by the monicker Salim Kutta, is serving life imprisonment in connection with the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts.

Raising the issue in the council on Monday, NCP member Eknath Khadse demanded immediate dismissal of Mahajan. Khadse, who waved purported pictures of Mahajan at the wedding, questioned why the government initiated an SIT inquiry into Badgujar’s connections but not into the minister’s. He further alleged that several BJP leaders attended the same ceremony in May 2017, along with Mahajan.

Seconding Khadse’s opinion, leader of the opposition Ambadas Danve said if Mahajan did not resign, chief minister Eknath Shinde should sack him.

When a similar allegation was raised in the lower house against Badgujar, the government acted swiftly and so it should follow suit and take the same action against Mahajan after sacking him, Danve added.

Chairperson Neelam Gorhe raised objections to the way the matter was raised without a prior notice. She repeatedly tried in vain to stop Khadse and Danve and said she had granted them permission to air their contention in good faith since the notice they pressed under section 289 did not name the minister, and now they were specifically mentioning the minister.

She also warned them that she would strike off from records the mention of the minister’s name. As the opposition persisted in demanding Mahajan’s resignation and an SIT probe, Gorhe adjourned the house twice.

Fadnavis urged the opposition to apologise for making baseless accusations against the minister.

He clarified that the wedding attended by Mahajan and others was that of the nephew of Nashik’s prominent Muslim religious leader, Sheher-e-Khatib. Fadnavis emphasised that Sheher-E-Khatib has no connection to Dawood, and the allegations are baseless and politically motivated.

Later, Uddhav Thackeray, Sena (UBT) chief, questioned the government’s reluctance to probe the matter. He claimed to have possessed pictures of Mahajan at the wedding and criticised the ruling BJP’s inconsistency in dealing with individuals linked to controversial figures.

Mahajan dismissed the allegations as baseless and driven by personal animosity from Khadse. He explained that the incident and pictures referred to by Khadse were nine years old and related to the wedding of a relative of Sher-e-khatib of Nashik. Mahajan asserted that he attended the event along with numerous political leaders from various parties, and the accusations were unfounded.

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