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BJP targets Sonia over allegations against former UPA minister Praful Patel

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: October 14, 2019  | 22:51 IST

Mumbai, Oct 14 (PTI) Citing reports alleging that Praful Patel was involved in a property deal with 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts accused Iqbal Mirchi, the BJP on Monday questioned his induction in the UPA government and asked Congress president Sonia Gandhi to clarify if there was any "quid pro quo". NCP leader Patel was a member of the Union Cabinet and served as civil aviation minister from 2004 to 2009 in the first term of the UPA government led by the Congress. Gandhi had served as the UPA chairperson. The NCP has rejected the allegation against Patel, while the Congress said there is a BJP government at the centre which can get the matter investigated. Addressing a press conference here, BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra asked the Congress to come clean on the allegation of land deal between Patel and Mirchi, a close aide of fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim who was declared a global terrorist. "There are documents available showing Patel and Hazara, the wife of Iqbal Mirchi, having signatures on the same papers, indicating they had an agreement over a property deal. What was the quid pro quo with Sonia Gandhi for inducting Patel in the Union Cabinet?" "There is a standard procedure of carrying out a thorough background check before inducting anyone into the Cabinet. We want to know whether it was duly followed or not," Patra asked. A minister learns several secret decisions during Cabinet meetings, he said. "Does Patel's alleged links with a terrorist and member of the Dawood Ibrahim gang mean the national security was compromised?" the BJP spokesperson asked. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is reportedly probing Patel for allegedly helping Mirchi, who was a drug smuggler and died in 2013 in London, in money laundering. According to reports, it is alleged that Patel redeveloped a Mumbai property, Ceejay House - allegedly owned by Mirchi - in 2005. However, the NCP has said the property was with the Court Receiver from 1978 to 2005 due to a dispute among co-owners. During this period, there was an illegal occupant in the premises behind the then building, the Sharad Pawar-led party has said. "Ceejay House is not owned by any individuals being mentioned in the news reports. All documents and court orders are available on record," the NCP has said. When asked about the BJP's allegations against Patel, Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said he was unaware of the case. "The BJP government is in power at the centre for the last five years and it should investigate the matter," the former chief minister said. PTI ND MR RSY RT RT

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