CBI quizzes Anna Hazare in Nimbalkar murder


Mumbai: Renowned social worker and anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare was summoned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Tuesday in connection with its probe into the murder of Congress leader Pavan Raje Nimbalkar.

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Padamsinh Patil, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP from Osmanabad, was arrested Sunday in connection with the killings of Nimbalkar and his driver Samad Qazi in 2006.

Hazare, a Magsaysay Award winner, went to the CBI office here Tuesday afternoon and was closeted with the sleuths for over three hours for recording his statement in the matter.

Hazare had also been a potential target of the Nimbalkar killers, who confessed to receiving a Rs.2.50 milion contract to eliminate the social activist.

Besides Patil, the others arrested are Satish Mandade, a distillery owner from Osmanabad, and Mohan Shukla, a former NCP activist who is now a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corporator from Dombivli, besides the two alleged killers.

Mandade and Shukla had allegedly given the contract to kill Nimbalkar to Parasmal Jain and Dineshram Tiwari, an underworld sharpshooter and a contract killer respectively.

“Parasmal Jain has links with Mandade, who is connected to the Terna Co-operative Sugar Factory, which is linked to (Padamsinh) Patil,” Hazare told reporters shortly after stepping out of the CBI office.

“I had exposed the irregularities in the Terna Co-operative Sugar Factory some years ago. After my allegations were investigated, Patil was removed as a cabinet minister. I informed the CBI that it is possible that Patil was upset over my expose and could have given a contract to Jain to finish me off,” Hazare said.

Hazare said he requested the CBI officials to register a separate case pertaining to the contract to kill him, as revealed by Jain in his confession before a magistrate.

In a related development, the Shiv Sena-BJP opposition in Maharashtra reiterated its demand for the resignation of Patil’s son, Rana Jagjitsinh Patil, who is a minister of state in the Democratic Front government of the Congress and the NCP.

“Patil was arrested from the official residence of his minister-son. Hence, he should also resign from the ministry,” Leader of Opposition Ramdas Kadam of the Shiv Sena said in the Maharashtra legislature.