PUNE: Till a fortnight ago, Hemant Gavande was just another common man, dealing with everyday problems. However, his decision to wage a fight against Maharashtra minister Eknath Khadse catapulted him as a prominent face in the state, which has in the past produced many crusaders.
Gavande, 38, blew the lid off irregularities involving Khadse by revealing the documents pertaining to the MIDC land that the minister’s wife and son-in-law had purchased. A real-estate developer by profession, Gavande is socially active in Pimpri-Chinchwad through Chinmay Mission, a Hindu organisation. On his Facebook page, he flaunts his picture with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and VHP leader Pravin Togadia.
The pictures and messages Gavande shared on social media prompted many to think that the BJP or RSS provided him with ammunition. Gavande, however, denied having any direct association with RSS or BJP. “I am not a member of any political party. My social and professional connections are quite apart,” he said.
He added that he does not personally know Bhagwat and Togadia although he met both the leaders during the World Hindu Congress Session held in Delhi in 2014. He added that his role models include Chanakya and Veer Savarkar. In 2015, Gavande faced a police complaint for allegedly “grabbing” agricultural land at Bopodi near Pune. According to the crusader, he was hoping to get justice from Khadse, who also holds agriculture portfolio, but in vain. “The minister for the sake of personal profit misused his power and position and involved people such as Ravindra Barhate to trouble me by asking for bribes.”
Gavande said that when he refused to pay a bribe, the minister directed a police to implicate him in land-grabbing case, the details of which were reported by a news channel after it carried out a sting operation. Refuting that he is now taking revenge against Khadse, Gavande said, “I only want to end the misuse of power by government servants and ministers.”