Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut on Thursday withdrew his controversial remarks wherein he claimed that former prime minister Indira Gandhi met underworld don Karim Lala in Mumbai. Raut said that Congress need not feel hurt for the remark as he is taking backing my statement. “If someone feels my statement hurt Indira Gandhi’s image, or someone’s feelings, I take it back,” Sanjay Raut said.
“In the past, I have taken her (Gandhi’s) side and argued with people who tried to malign her image. In such cases, some Congress leaders had remained silent,” the Rajya Sabha member added.
Earlier During an interview to a media group in Pune on Wednesday, Raut claimed that “Indira Gandhi used to meet Karim Lala in Pydhonie (in south Mumbai).”
A day after he claimed that the former prime minister used to come to meet gangster Karim Lala in Mumbai, the Shiv Sena leader said that yesteryear don used to meet her as a ‘leader of the Pathan community.’ “Many political people used to come to meet Karim Lala, times were different back then. He was a leader of the Pathan community, he had come from Afghanistan. So, people used to meet him over the problems faced by the Pathan community,” Raut said.
The Rajya Sabha MP also said that he has a lot of respect for the entire family. “The respect that I have always shown towards Indira Gandhi, Pandit Nehru, Rajiv Gandhi & the Gandhi family, despite being in opposition, nobody has done it. Whenever people have targeted Indira Gandhi, I have stood up for her,” he added.
Congress leaders Milind Deora and Sanjay Nirupam on Thursday asked Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut to withdraw his "ill-informed" remarks that former prime minister Indira Gandhi met underworld don Karim Lala. Deora, who is the former Union minister, described Gandhi as a "true patriot who never compromised on India's national security".
Raut, whose party is part of the ruling alliance with the Congress and NCP in Maharashtra, on Wednesday claimed that Gandhi met Karim Lala in Mumbai.
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.