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Maharashtra minister accused of close ties with Dawood aide

Maharashtra minister accused of close ties with Dawood aide

Author: Sanjeev Shivdekar
Publication: The Times of India
Date: March 19, 2009
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/State-minister--accused-of-close-ties-with-Dawood-aide/articleshow/4284667.cms

BJP legislator Devendra Phadanvis created an uproar in the state legislature on Wednesday by accusing minister of state for home (urban) Arif Naseem Khan of having links with a close aide of Pakistan-based gangster Dawood Ibrahim. He also demanded the resignation of Khan, who was inducted into the ministry recently. Khan, who is a Congress MLA from Kurla, has rejected the charge and said it was politically motivated.

Phadanvis said that at a function held recently near J J Hospital, Khan was felicitated by Asif Dadi, who is known for his proximity to the underworld D- company. Dawood's sister Haseena Parkar was among those who had attended the function. Earlier, the city police had booked Dadi under MCOCA.

Sources close to Khan said the programme was not organised by Dadi, but by the Princess Building Tenants' Association and the initiative was taken by a journalist. It was attended by Congress MP Milind Deora and party MLA Bhai Jagtap. "Neither Dadi nor Haseena Parkar was up there on stage. If they were in the audience, how can the minister and others on the stage be blamed?'' Khan's supporters asked.

How can you have a secure state when a minister has links with the underworld, Phadanvis asked. "No matter how much the government spends on modernising the police force, as long as there are such ministers, nothing can be expected from the police department,'' he said.

Continuing the attack, the opposition demanded that Khan should either resign on moral grounds or the government should expel him from the ministry.

Replying to the allegations, minister of state for home (rural) Nitin Raut said, "We will examine the allegations.'' Expressing displeasure at the government's reply, BJP MLAs in the assembly rushed to the well. However, after an assurance from chairperson Pramod Shende, the legislators returned to their seats. "The government should examine the allegations and submit its findings to the assembly on Thursday,'' said Shende. Today is the last day of the ongoing four-day vote-on-account session.

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