Mumbai: In a big relief to beleaguered former Maharashtra minister Eknath Khadse, the state’s Anti-Terrorism Squad told the Bombay High Court that its preliminary inquiry has found no exchange of calls between Khadse and fugitive Dawood Ibrahim and that no terrorist link was established, as alleged by a hacker.
"The ATS conducted preliminary inquiry. No terrorist angle has been found as alleged by the hacker. No calls were exchanged between Khadse and underworld don Dawood, as alleged by the hacker," ATS advocate Niteen Pradhan told a division bench of justices N H Patil and P D Naik.
The HC was hearing a petition filed by Gujarat-based hacker Manish Bhangale, alleging partial probe by the state machinery and seeking CBI investigation in the matter.
Bhangale claims to have hacked the authentication process of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd in April this year from where he acquired the telephone records of underworld fugitive Dawood Ibrahim.
According to Bhangale's petition, the information also includes alleged phone calls between Dawood and Maharashtra's former revenue minister Eknath Khadse.
"The claims made by the petitioner that the information provided by him to the state machinery has been taken lightly is not correct. We are doing the needful and CBI probe is not required," Pradhan said.
However, he mentioned that while no terrorist angle has surfaced in the inquiry, certain other revelations have come to the fore.
"Certain other serious things have come to the fore during the preliminary inquiry. But those will have to be probed by experts from the city police's cyber crime cell.
The ATS will submit its preliminary inquiry report to the cyber crime cell of the police's crime branch which shall then investigate," Pradhan said.
The high court, after recording Pradhan's statement, directed Bhangale to appear before the crime branch as and when required and provide the information he has.
The bench, while disposing of Bhangale's petition, said, "We cannot jump to CBI every time. We have to trust and have faith in the state machinery also. If at a later stage the petitioner feels probe is not being done properly, he can approach the high court again."
On Bhangale's fear that there is a threat to his life, the court said he can file a representation before the police commissioner who shall decide it on merits.
Eknath Khadse, who served as the Revenue Minister resigned from his post last month after getting embroiled in multiple controversies, including graft allegations in a questionable land deal and alleged links with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
"I have done nothing wrong...when the allegations were made against me, I asked them (those levelling the charges) to provide evidence, which they did not give. I request the chief minister to conduct a thorough probe into the allegations and those making them," Khadse said after tendering his resignation.
(With PTI inputs)