Coming out in support of party MP Padamsinh Patil, arrested for the murder of a Congress leader, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Tuesday said that he is "innocent, until proved guilty".
"NCP believes that the law would take its course and Patil is innocent till he is proved guilty. Just on the basis of allegations we cannot state him guilty," party spokesperson DP Tripathi told reporters.
Patil was arrested on Sunday by the Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) in connection with the killing of his cousin and Congress leader Pavan Raje Nimbalkar and his driver Samad Qazi in Navi Mumbai in 2006. Patil has been elected to the Lok Sabha from Osmanabad in Maharashtra.
Asked whether the CBI action was politically motivated, Tripathi said: "We have full faith in the investigating agencies."
Asked to react to Congress leader Vilasrao Deshmukh's statement that the Congress would form a government in Maharashtra on its own, Tripathi said: "If a renowned member of the Congress party has said something, it does not mean that we will not work in coalition with the party.
"Both INC (Congress) and NCP have been in power in Maharashtra for nine successful years and I am sure that in the forthcoming election our coalition will be victorious again," he said.