Fadnavis tells NH anyone threatened by his cousin should go to the cops

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis refuses to speak on the Judge Loya case but alleges to National Herald that a person pursuing the judge’s death in 2014 “has a habit of making complaints”

Photo by Pramod Thakur/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Pramod Thakur/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Sujata Anandan

Amid reports that a first cousin of his, Sanjay Fadnavis, his paternal uncle’s son, has threatened a lawyer on a brief for Satish Uike, who is alleged to be under attack in the Judge Loya case, facts now emerging show that Fadnavis may be running with the hares and hunting with the hounds.

So, also, may be Uike who has been targeting Fadnavis for years and now is in a series of troubles and not just in the Loya case.

Uike and Fadnavis are old rivals dating back to the time they were both stu­dents at the Government Law College in Nagpur. The rivalry continued through their professional stints in law and politics.

Uike was even jailed for two months for con­tempt of court when he questioned a favourable judgment to Fadnavis by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court. Sig­nificantly, the presiding judge in that case was Justice Bhushan Gavai, one of two Bombay High Court judges who claimed to be with Justice Loya in hospital at the time of his death. Devendra Fadnavis, in response to a query by this correspon­dent, refused to comment on any aspect of the Judge Loya case, including Ui­ke’s involvement in it, as the matter is being cur­rently heard by the Su­preme Court.

He was, however, scath­ing in his remarks about Uike per se, saying, “He has a habit of making com­plaints about every judge, officer and many...Satish Uike filed a complaint against me for hiding infor­mation in affidavit and lost in all courts.”

Fadnavis informed that the High Court had passed very strong orders against Uike, including jailing him for contempt, and even de­clared him an absconder. Uike has now approached the Supreme Court which has directed the High Court to hear his plea for an apology, Fadnavis said.

But Uike has always been an activist fighting for Dalits and his rivalry with Fadnavis could also be laced with a caste dimen­sion, given that Fadnavis is clearly aligned to the Rash­triya Swayamsevak Sangh.

According to informed sources in Nagpur, Fadna­vis always was and contin­ues to be in Uike’s firing line and, in this regard, Uike is being helped by for­mer Bharatiya Yuva Janata Morcha activist Sudhir Lolke, who was seated be­side him at the press conference called by former Union Minister Kapil Sibal in New Delhi some weeks ago to raise concerns over the Justice Loya case.

Lolke too bears a grudge against Fadnavis for hav­ing edged him out of an active role in the party and is known for exposing Fad­navis’ alleged connections with the land mafia in Nag­pur. Uike and Lolke then clearly have Judge Loya less at heart than getting even with Fadnavis for real or imagined wrongs done to them in the past.

According to informed sources, Uike and others, having never met Loya, have overnight declared themselves as “crusaders” in the Judge Loya case as they need some “shelter ... to hide behind” after being thoroughly exposed as little more than self-gratifiers.

Threats by CM Fadnavis’ first cousin

But what about the threat by the CM’s first cousin Sanjay Fadnavis to Abhi­yan Barahate, who has now lodged a case and submit­ted the transcript of the conversation with the po­lice? While some informed sources say those threats could be a double-edged sword against Uike and Lolke, there are others who believe Fadnavis is being done in by a plethora of his own relatives, both pater­nal and maternal cousins, including his wife Amruta who are all making ample use of his high office to serve their own ends.

While Amruta’s shenan­igans, like dancing, singing on video or walking the ramp, are plain silly and causing her husband much loss of face and dignity, his other relatives are alleged­ly using his fair name to set their own political agendas right. With or without his knowledge.

“He simply needs to pull them up and tell them all firmly where to get off,” said a close friend of Fad­navis. “All politicians have the odd relative interfer­ing in extra-constitutional manner. But the amount of interference by all shades of Fadnavis’ relatives is unbelievable.”

So, while on the surface it seems as though Sanjay Fadnavis is threatening the lawyer on the Judge Loya case, which may well be true, Devendra Fadnavis would not be too unhappy if the threats work and the Uike-Lolke duo is shaken off from tormenting him further or if the cops take action against his cousin and stop the besmirching of his name.

This is borne out by Fadna­vis’ statement to this paper wherein he has admitted that Sanjay Fadnavis is his cousin but, “he is not even in the smallest post in the BJP...I neither have authorised nor acknowl­edged any of his acts.” Anyone threatened by Sanjay should file a police com­plaint and law will take its course, he said.

Uike digging into land deals along Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway

However, while Uike may or may not tender an apol­ogy to Fadnavis soon, re­porters in Nagpur say he continues to dig into the land deals that are being allegedly struck on his be­half (by friends taking un­due advantage of his name) all along the route of the Samruddhi Expressway from Mumbai to Nagpur.

Farmers have been did­dled out of their land for small amounts of compen­sation. According to NCP spokesperson Nawab Ma­lik, it is a fit case for inves­tigation as to how bureau­crats and ruling party politicians who knew the Expressway was coming snapped up all that land at throwaway prices and are now waiting to make a killing.

Apart from the run­ning battle with Uike and distancing himself from his cousin, Fadnavis, say sources, would not be too unhappy if his cousin’s ‘unauthorised’ act earns him some brownie points with his “vulnerable party leadership” in the Judge Loya case. However, if the threats succeed in persuad­ing his own tormentors to leave him alone, it would be a big bonus.

It would seem as if the Judge Loya case has come as a blessing in disguise for both Uike, who reinvents himself as a crusader, and Fadnavis, who keeps his chocolate boy image unsullied while conveying to the BJP leadership what he has had to suffer while protecting the image of the party president.

As one BJP acolyte said, “Do not underestimate Fadnavis. He is the master of the tight rope walk. Just look at how he has deftly gotten rid of both Eknath Khadse (former Revenue Minister who resigned on charges of corruption) and Narayan Rane. They could both have been threats to his chair. Now they have to be satisfied with crumbs.”

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