New Delhi, Jan 16: The row over Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut's remarks that former Prime Minister and Congress icon Indira Gandhi had met Mumbai-don Karim Lala has grown bigger with NCP leader Majeed Memon backing the statement.
Senior BJP leader Dr Subramanian Swamy also maintained that if Congress party withdraws support to Uddhav Thackeray regime over this issue, the BJP should extend support to Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. The Hindutva forces should unite, said Dr Swamy and "for that I do not mind bending a little". "Sanjay Raut has in fact shown great respect and admiration towards Mrs Gandhi even though he claims she had met Pathan leader Karim Lala. Congress has no reason to be agitated. Don’t forget Lala, Mastan etc. were given amnesty," tweeted Mr Memon, also a Rajya Sabha MP.
Meanwhile BJP leader and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has also joined the issue wondering whether lust for 'power' is making Congress leaders keep mum after such remarks made on one of their senior leaders. "Was it for muscle flexing (politics) or for monetary support....," Mr Fadnavis asked.
Karim Lala born in 1911 died on February 19, 2002. He headed the infamous 'Pathan Gang'. Born as Abdul Karim Sher Khan in Kunar province of Afghanistan, Lala was one of the three mafia dons of Bombay (Mumbai) till early eighties and the other two being Mastan Mirza (Haji Mastan) and Varadarajan Mudaliar. For over two decades, he was the leader of the dreaded "Pathan Gang" Several Bollywood films have been also made on the life and times of these dons.
Mr Raut has triggered the controversy by stating that - "There was a time when Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Shakeel, Sharad Shetty used to decide who would be Police Commissioner of Mumbai and who would sit in 'Mantralaya'. Indira Gandhi used to go and meet Karim Lala. We have seen all that underworld...". Senior BJP leader Dr Subramanian Swamy suggested that in the past politicians had nexus with dons specially in the context of money laundering. "It is no surprise that Indira Gandhi had links with underworld....There is therefore presumption that Sanjay Raut is right," Dr Swamy said.
He also said if Congress withdraws support to Uddhav Thackeray on this issue, the BJP should extend support to Shiv Sena. NCP leader Mr Memon, however, criticised government decision to depute Union Ministers to Jammu and Kashmir. "To assess what is the ground reality in Kashmir why visit of crowd of Union Ministers and not opposition leaders? We were not allowed to step out of Srinagar Airport and were sent back. Let the truth be known to one and all," Mr Memon tweeted. (UNI)