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Eknath Khadse raised issue of `rat scam’ only “jokingly”: CM Devendra Fadnavis

PTI | Mumbai |

Under fire from Opposition over an alleged `rat scam’, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday said his former cabinet colleague Eknath Khadse had raised the issue jokingly.

“Khadse himself told me that he had raised the issue jokingly, not knowing it would take such a serious turn.

“However, (Revenue Minister) Chandrakant Patil has given a clarification over the issue and there is no need for me to speak on this further,” Fadnavis said, speaking to reporters here.

Speaking in the Legislative Assembly last week, Khadse had said, quoting RTI information, that while the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) took two years to kill six lakh rats, a private contractor managed to kill more than three lakh rats in Mantralaya, the state secretariat, within a mere seven days.

How was this possible, the senior BJP leader said, seeking a probe, and causing some serious embarrassment to the state government which later said the number cited by him was of poison tablets used to kill rats and not that of killed rats.

Meanwhile, asked if his scheduled meeting with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray today was cancelled because of Rajya Sabha MP Narayan Rane’s presence in the legislature, Fadnavis said he did not even know that Rane was there.

“Uddhav-ji and me were supposed to meet at 6 pm.