I-T raids minister after lavish wedding

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Mumbai, Feb 20 (PTI): The Income Tax department conducted searches at the premises of NCP Minister Bhaskar Jadhav in Maharashtra after he came under the scanner over the extravagant wedding of his two children at a time when the state was battling severe drought.

The inquiries and searches were carried out by a team of 11 officers at Jadhav’s hotel as well as residence in Chiplun (Ratnagiri) and Karad (Satara) yesterday, I-T sources said today.

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 in Chiplun on February 13.

“Our mandate is to get the information about the source of money that was spent at the wedding,” sources said.

Jadhav, the Minister of State for Urban Development, on his part, 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,” he said talking to reporters.

NCP had disapproved of the extravagance while conducting the twin weddings and had termed it as “inappropriate” when many parts of Maharashtra were reeling under drought and water scarcity. It came down heavily on the  “ostentatious show of wealth”.

NCP chief and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar too had voiced his displeasure and had said he could not sleep the whole night when he saw  the wedding footage on television.

IT sleuths also recorded the statement of a man identified as as just Shah who allegedly funded crores of rupees for the wedding, which was attended by almost the entire state cabinet.

Jadhav clarified that he had given catering contract for the weddings 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 –that is his own and those of his daughter-in-law and son-in-law.

He said he had invited 15,000 people for the weddings though a lot more people turned up.

“My life is an open book and I like to celebrate the happiness in my family with people of my constituency who have made me what I am today,” he stated.

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