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After lavish wedding, I-T raid at Maha minister’s premises

The Income Tax department has conducted searches at the premises of Maharashtra minister Bhaskar Jadhav, after he came under scanner for the lavish wedding hosted at Chiplun, when many parts of the state were facing the prospect of a severe drought.

The inquiries and searches were carried out by a team of 11 officers at his hotel as well as residence in Chiplun (Ratnagiri) and Karad (Satara) on Monday, I-T officials said on Tuesday. The I-T sleuths also recorded the statement of the NCP leader last night at his Chiplun residence, they said.

The department is gathering information about the huge expenses incurred on the elaborate wedding of Jadhav’s son and daughter, last week.

‘Our mandate is to get the information about the source of money that was spent at the wedding,’ the officials said. Also, officials have recorded the statement of a man identified as Shah, who allegedly funded crores of rupees for the 13 February wedding, which was attended by almost the entire state cabinet.

Soon after the ceremony, the NCP had disapproved of the lavish wedding hosted by its minister and had termed it as ‘inappropriate’ when many parts of Maharashtra were reeling under water scarcity.

‘Such ostentatious show of wealth was inappropriate for those in public life,’ NCP spokesman Nawab Malik had said. A day after, NCP chief and union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, too, had voiced his displeasure. Pawar had said that he could not sleep the whole night when he saw visuals of the wedding on television.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra’s beleaguered urban development minister Bhaskar Jadhav, on Tuesday said he would quit public life if proven guilty.

‘I have not done anything wrong. If proven guilty, I will not only resign from my ministerial post but also quit public life,’ the NCP MLA from Chiplun in Ratnagiri district told reporters here.

He said he had given catering contract for the wedding to one Rakesh Shah who has nothing to do with irrigation projects as alleged by some people and the expenses of the wedding were borne by three families – his own and those of his daughter-in-law and son-in-law.
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