Amid the controversy over Sanjay Raut's statement on former PM Indira Gandhi, Shiv Sena on Friday said that underworld don Karim Lala was working for Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan's orgsation 'Khudai Khidmatgar', in Mumbai, during the 1960s and therefore had contacts with many party leaders.
Through the party mouthpiece, Saamna, Sena said, "In the 60s, Karim Lala in Mumbai was working in Mumbai to solve the issues of Pathans around the globe, and Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan aka Frontier Gandhi was his ideal... He (Khan) had an orgsation named Khudai Khidmatgar and youths like Karim Lala were working for it. Lala met leaders from around the world and his office had photos of all of them, had the BJP leaders seen those photos they would not have commented against her. Members of all parties had contacts with Karim Lala and that era was when underworld was emerging in Mumbai."
The editorial further added, " Indira Gandhi meeting with different leaders shouldn't be a controversy because as the Prime Minister you have to meet many stakeholders including separatists to solve different problems, and it has happened many times in the recent past."
Through the Saamna editorial, Sena added, "Indira Gandhi had a great personality, attempt to malign her name was done by the last government but BJP thinks that it is being done now. This thought by the BJP is now an honour to Indiraji in itself."
Raut on Wednesday had claimed that Indira Gandhi used to go and meet Karim Lala in Mumbai.
"There was a time when Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Shakeel, Sharad Shetty used to decide who would be Police Commissioner of Mumbai and who would sit in the 'Mantralaya'. Indira Gandhi used to go and meet Karim Lala. We've seen that underworld, now it's just 'chillar'," Raut had said here on Wednesday.
However, he retracted from his remarks on Thursday saying if someone feels that his statement had hurt the image of Indira Gandhiji or hurt feelings, he takes back his remarks.
Lala was involved in smuggling, narcotics, gambling, forced property evictions, and extortion rackets in Mumbai for over two decades. He died in 2002 at the age of 90.
( With inputs from ANI )