Eknath Khadse's 'aide' demanded Rs 30 crore bribe for 'fun'

The ACB told the court that Gajanan Patil was not cooperating with the probe; the court remanded him to 14 days judicial custody

Gajanan Patil, a self-proclaimed aide of State Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse, was sent to 14 days of judicial custody yesterday by the Special Sessions court. The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), which arrested Patil on Friday, told the court that Patil was not cooperating with the probe and that he said that he demanded the money for fun.

Gajanan Patil
Gajanan Patil

“We want to know if there is anyone behind this case, who asked him to demand the money. We want seven more days of police custody for Patil,” said the ACB public prosecutor.

The judge Ninaji Khandu More, however refused to provide more time since there was no solid reason for the extension. Meanwhile, Shyam Keshwani, appearing on behalf of Patil told the court that his client is being made a scapegoat in the matter because complainant Dr Ramesh Jadhav’s application was pending with the ACB for long, then why was it not investigated earlier.

Sources in ACB said the call detail records revealed that Patil was in touch with prominent people in the revenue department. The senior BJP member has said that he knew Patil but was not associated with him and that he would file a defamation case for misusing his name.

The case
Patil was arrested outside Mantralaya for demanding R30 crore from economist Ramesh Jadhav, to settle a land dispute. The arrest has sparked off a speculation as to who might have directed the ACB to arrest Patil, a person close to an influential politician like Khadse.

The ACB always requires the CM’s permission to go ahead with any arrest. State CM Devendra Fadnavis, who heads the Home department, and Khadse is not known to share a good rapport and thus this arrest has just fanned that fire furthermore.

“We had taken all the required permissions and we have been investigating the matter since the last seven months,” said an ACB officer.

The bail application of Patil will be heard on Wednesday. The NCP has demanded that Khadse’s Officer-on-special duty Unmesh Mahajan should also be arrested, since his name was mentioned in a complaint filed by Jadhav seven months ago.

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