The Nand Lal Committee, which was formed in 1999 to probe illegal construction in Ulhasnagar, indicted him and his wife for their involvement; he has 19 criminal cases registered against him, including eight murder charges. He was arrested under TADA in 1992 and served nine years in Yerwada jail. But unfazed, Suresh Budharmal Kalani alias Pappu Kalani has now turned a crusader to fight corruption.
Sixty-year-old Kalani, who is presently out on bail, has represented Ulhasnagar as an MLA on four occasions.
Spearheading a campaign against corruption, he has put up big hoardings across the city proclaiming that only he can stop corruption. The former MLA has mobilised youth to take his message forward and said he would hold meetings and workshops across the city to generate awareness about his anti-graft campaign. He said, “More than 15,000 people have pledged their support and many more people will join this movement.”
Kalani added, “Corruption is a crime and I will see to it that a corrupt officer in Ulhasnagar is awarded stringent punishment. This will act as a deterrent.”
When asked about his alleged involvement in corruption cases, Kalani, who has now floated a new party, Ulhas Vikas Party, termed such allegations as a ploy to malign his ‘clean’ image. “People have faith in me and they also elected me four times. If I was corrupt, why would they send me to the assembly?”
However, not many are willing to take his word. “Even if a man like Kalani pledges to weed out corruption, nothing much will change. His name is synonymous with corruption and will always be,” said Alka Kamble, a student.