Responding on the controversial statement by Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut that "former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi met don Karim Lala', BJP has said that the grand old party must clarify. Former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis has asked a series of questions to the Congress party over Raut's claim. He has also said that it is shameful if Congress does not clarify the allegations on its top leader simply to maintain the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance.
Speaking to news agency ANI, "Congress recieved money from underworld? Or they wanted muscle power? I also want to ask the way in which Raut has revealed, it seems under Congress government, Dawood and Chota Shakeel were real power bearers of Maharashtra. Congress should reply if CP was appointed by Indira, under direction of Karim Lala? Criminalisation of politics started in those days? They should clarify."
He added there should be a clear statement by Congress party on Shiv Sena's claim because it is about the security of Maharashtra and the dignity of the grand-old party. "I also want to ask if your coalition dharma is stopping you from clarifying? You are tight-lipped about the claims only to maintain the alliance government. But if there is no official statement from the Congress on the same, it must be believed that Raut had spoken the truth. Therefore I urge them to clarify," he said.
In an interview with a local Marathi news agency on Wednesday, Shiv Sena's Rajya Sabha MP Raut said: "They (underworld) used to decide who will be Mumbai's police commissioner and who will sit in Mantralaya (state secretariat)," Raut said. He added, "When (underworld don) Haji Mastan came to Mantralaya, the entire secretariat would come down to see him. Indira Gandhi used to meet Karim Lala in Pydhonie (in south Mumbai)". Congress is yet to comment on Raut's statement.
Karim Lala was one of the three top underworld dons of Mumbai for over two decades, from the sixties to the early eighties, the other two being Mastan Mirza alias Haji Mastan and Varadarajan Mudaliar. Raut claimed he clicked pictures of many gangsters, including Dawood Ibrahim, adding that he had once even rebuked the gangster. Incidentally, Shiv Sena which was founded in 1960s, has held power over Mumbai since 1985.