Coming out in defence of Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik, who has been arrested by the ED in connection with a money laundering case, NCP’s state unit president Jayant Patil has said that it is not mandatory to seek the resignation of any minister until the crime is proven.
Apparently targeting the opposition BJP, Patil said there are efforts to put the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) ministers in trouble.
He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a party event here on Tuesday.
When asked about BJP state unit president Chandrakant Patil’s statement that his party will not allow the upcoming budget session of the state legislature to function if Malik continues to remain a cabinet minister despite his arrest, the NCP leader said, “Let the BJP put forth its stand on Malik during the session and an appropriate answer will be given.”
“If everyday some kind of action is being taken against ministers, it is not mandatory to seek their resignation. If the crime against them is not yet proved, why would the person give his resignation?” he said.
“In the case of (former home minister) Anil Deshmukh, we took his resignation innocently when he was arrested, but it was later understood that the allegations against him were frail. There are efforts to put our ministers in trouble. We have taken one resignation, but now we think that there is no need of seeking the resignation of others,” Patil, who is Water Resources Minister, said.
Malik, state Minority Affairs Minister and ruling NCP’s spokesperson, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) last week in connection with a money laundering probe linked to the activities of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his aides.
Deshmukh, who had resigned as a minister in April last year after allegations of corruption were levelled against him by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh. The ED had arrested him November last year.
The BJP has been aggressively demanding Malik’s resignation, saying that he has no moral right to remain a minister.
The upcoming budget session of the Maharashtra legislature will be held from March 3 to 25 in Mumbai.
Meanwhile, speaking about the Indian students stranded in war-torn Ukraine, Patil said extra efforts need to be taken by the Union government to evacuate them and bring them back to the country.
“Around two-and-a-half weeks ago, an appeal was made by me and several others to evacuate the stranded students from Ukraine, but it seems that we woke up a little late. No issues. I am hearing from the news channels that extra efforts are being taken by the government to bring back the students,” he said.
The minister added that he has been getting several videos of students currently stranded in Ukraine who have expressed disappointment for not being evacuated.
“Therefore, the Centre should take extra efforts,” he said.
When asked whether the efforts taken by the Union government are sufficient or not, Patil said, “The way students are not feeling confident about their evacuation, the way students facing difficulties, it means we are lacking somewhere.
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