MUMBAI: As the BJP is trying to control the damage caused by allegations against revenue minister Eknath Khadse, fishermen’s associations have accused him of favouring the purse seine net fishing vessels that are been banned in the state.
They alleged there was a deal of Rs 15 crore to tweak the rules in favour of these purse-seine net fishing vessels’ owners. Calling for his resignation, the fishermen rued that Khadse, who also holds the fisheries portfolio, had prepared a draft proposal to give licences to purse seine net fishing vessels, a move they describe will prove devastating for fishermen. Khadse, however, denied the allegations, saying it was a part of the plan to defame him.
Damodar Tandel, president, Akhil Maharashtra Machimar Kriti Samiti, said, “Despite the fact that CM Devendra Fadnavis banned the purse-seine net fishing across the state, Khadse was determined to restart it.” He alleged that money was exchanged in the entire deal, which was facilitated by Gajanan Patil, an alleged aide of Khadse. Tandel also showed a video clip of the meeting held in Khadse’s cabin where the minister clearly tells them that he would frame rules as he wants.
Purse seine nets can be spread across a 3-km radius and ensure a huge catch leaving almost nothing for fishermen using traditional means. Khadse, however, rubbished the allegations saying that state always upheld the interests of the traditional fishermen.
ATS SUMMONS ETHICAL HACKER BHANGALE
Days after initiating investigation in the alleged calls received by Khadse from don Dawood Ibrahim, the state Anti-Terrorism Squad summoned ethical hacker Manish Bhangale for recording his statement on Friday. However, after Bhangale’s legal team refused to record his statement citing an ongoing court petition, the ATS left summons asking him to come to its headquarters on Saturday.