Karim Lala (left) and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (right). (File photos)
A day after Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut claimed that Indira Gandhi met underworld don Karim Lala in Mumbai, the gangster's grandson has said that there are pictures of the former prime minister meeting Karim Lala at his office. Karim Lala's grandson has also claimed that Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and former Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray also used to come to meet the gangster.
The disclosure of Karim Lala's grandson comes a day after Sanjay Raut claimed that former prime minister Indira Gandhi met former underworld don Karim Lala in Mumbai.
"They [underworld] used to decide who will be Mumbai's police commissioner and who will sit in Mantralaya [state secretariat]. 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," claimed Sanjay Raut.
Congress rejected Sanjay Raut's statement about Indira Gandhi and asked him to withdraw his remarks.
Congress leaders Milind Deora and Sanjay Nirupam asked Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut to withdraw his "ill-informed" remarks that Indira Gandhi met Karim Lala. Milind Deora described Indira Gandhi as a "true patriot who never compromised on India's national security".
Sanjay Raut later withdrew his statement after a controversy erupted over the same. Sanjay Raut said, "Our Congress friends need not be hurt. If anyone feels that my statement has hurt Indira Gandhi's image or hurt anyone's feelings, then I withdraw my statement."
The Shiv Sena MP said his comments on Indira Gandhi were "twisted" by those unaware of Mumbai's history, as he meant that the former prime minister met gangster Karim Lala in his capacity as the representative of the Pathan community.
Kareem Lala was leader of Pathan community, he led an organisation called 'Pakhtun-e-Hind'. It was in this capacity of the leader of Pathan community that he met several top leaders including Indira GandhiSanjay Raut (@rautsanjay61) January 16, 2020
However, those who do not the history of Mumbai, r twisting my statement
BJP TARGETS CONGRESS AFTER SANJAY RAUT'S REMARKS
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Devendra Fadnavis targeted the Congress after Sanjay Raut's statements. Asserting that Sanjay Raut made a "big disclosure", Devendra Fadnavis asked if the Congress won elections with the help of the underworld.
"Why did Indira Gandhiji come to Mumbai? Did Congress win elections with the help of the underworld? Did Congress have funding from the underworld? Did the Congress party need muscle power to win the election?" Devendra Fadnavis asked.
(With PTI inputs)