Fresh row over Maha CM’s pic with ‘criminal’; AAP cries foul

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Mumbai, Nov 8 (PTI) A photograph purportedly showing Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis with a “criminal” went viral on social media today, prompting Aam Aadmi Party to launch a scathing attack on the BJP-led state government.

According to AAP national spokesperson Preeti Sharma Menon, the man seen in the photo with the CM was Akbar Hussain alias Raju Batla, who has a string of cases registered against him.

Raising question about safety and security of citizens, Sharma alleged the state was “unsafe” and the Home department, headed by Fadnavis, as well as police have been “compromised” by the mafia.

“Law and order seems to have swept away in Maharashtra completely and the antics of Maharashtra Police have created a sense of fear amongst the citizens. Are they capable of safeguarding our state?,” she asked.

Earlier, a photograph purportedly showing Fadnavis with an alleged Pune-based gangster Kamlakar Kisan alias Baba Bodke had gone viral.

“Raju Batla is a history sheeter who has 23 cases registered against him. The cases vary from smuggling, extortion, attempt to murder and murder. He was arrested in a conspiracy to assassinate BJP Leader L K Advani,” Sharma claimed.

“In the past few months, there has been a spike in criminal activities. Horrific rapes of children and attacks on police officers themselves have shaken the confidence of citizens. If that was not enough, there is a creeping fear that the current government is cosying up with criminals,” she alleged.

“A man who should be externed or put behind the bars is found enjoying the company of Chief Minister. This is ridiculous and extremely unacceptable,” she claimed.

Responding to the allegations, the Chief Minister’s Office said, “It is not right to rake up old baseless issues and create doubts in minds of people.”

As per the CMO, the said photo was taken at a 2015 function.

“In 2015, Congress corporator Khairunisa Hussain and her husband Akbar Hussain alias Raju Batla had attended Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s function. The CM shook hands and clicked pictures with all who stood in the queue to meet him.

“Elected representatives and their families were invited on August 15 at Mumbai University. Government officials, counsel generals of various countries, civic officials attended the programme,” it said in a statement.

Referring to the controversy over Fadnavis’ photo with Bodke, the statement said, “One Ujwala Havre had come to meet Fadnavis to invite him for launch of a mobile application on women safety in Pune. Two people had come with her and requested the CM for a photograph before leaving.”

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