Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Saturday that he would be happy if his colleague and former revenue minister Eknath Khadse returned to the cabinet. Khadse was forced to resign in June after his name cropped up in a string of controversies, including a dubious purchase of industrial land at Bhosari in Pune district, for which he allegedly misused his position.The industries department had termed the deal illegal as it was owned by the department.
Fadnavis said it was possible Khadse could return soon but refused to specify a timeframe. While interacting with reporters at his official residence Varsha at Malbar Hill, he said, “I will be happy if Khadse can join the cabinet again.”
He added, however, that Khadse’s comeback would depend on the findings of the committee set up to probe various allegations against him, including the Pune land deal, in which he faces charges of conflict of interest.
Earlier this year, Pune-based realtor Hemant Gavande claimed Khadse had misused his position as revenue minister to purchase a three-acre industrial plot at Bhosari in the name of his wife and son-in-law. Gavande accused the minister of grabbing the MIDC plot for a paltry Rs 3.75 crore, well below its market value of Rs 40 crore.
The probe committee, led by former high court judge N Zoting, sought an extension in September to complete the probe. The report is now expected by the end of December.