Girish Mahajan, a BJP leader and the medical education minister recently raised eyebrows for his alleged participation in gangster Dawood Ibrahim's niece's wedding. Although he pleads ignorant, the incident has forced people to think on the lines of political links with the underworld. 

The wedding took place in Nashik on May 19. Among the attendees were Girish Mahajan, BJP legislators Devyani Farande, Balasaheb Sanap and Seeema Hiray, Nashik mayor Ranjana Bhanasi and deputy mayor Prathamesh Gite (both of the BJP) and a section of local municipal councillors. While Mahajan is one of the top aides of Devendra Fadnavis, the others are well known in the political circuit in their own ways. 

Meanwhile, police commissioner Ravindra Singhal, Nashik Police, has ordered an enquiry into the presence of 10 policemen at the venue and their statements have also been recorded. The CM has also called for a report from Singhal. The latter, meanwhile said, "Our information is that Dawood's wife and the bride's mother are sisters."

Mahajan admitted that he had attended the wedding, but confirmed that he did not know about the bride's family's links with Dawood. He said that he had been invited from the groom's side who was the nephew of the local Muslim community leader Shahar A Khateeb. In his justification to TOI, Mahajan said, "I attended the marriage on the invitation of Khateeb, the most respected religious leader of the Muslim community. Khateeb has been one of the pillars of social activities undertaken by the medical education department in the Nashik region. He had taken keen interest in a medical camp organised by the department in Nashik and Nandurbar and also in last year's Kumbh mela."

Saying that he came to know about the link a day after the marriage, Mahajan said, "I am guardian minister of Nashik. I receive many invitations, but it is not possible to check the antecedents of people. In the present case, I attended the marriage since I personally knew Khateeb. I was accompanied by our party legislators and the mayor and deputy mayor of Nashik."

Meanwhile, no complaints have been registered against the bride's family and there are there any previous history. "However, we are inquiring into the presence of senior police officials at the marriage. It's not an investigation, it's an inquiry," said Singhal.

The members of the police who were at the wedding included assistant police commissioner Sachin Gore and inspectors Madhukar Kad, Somnath Tambe, Sanjay Deshmukh, Samsherkhan Pathan, Manoj Shinde, Hanumant Ware, Kantilal Chavan, Vinod Kedar and Vijay Londhe. The police have sought information from them regarding the purpose of their visit, who invited them and whether they were aware of the antecedents of the bride's family.

To this, the officers said that they had come on the invitation of Khateeb. They also backed Mahajan, saying how important Khateeb was in that area in Nashik. How he helped administration in maintaining communal harmony and peace. Mahajan is not the only person from the Fadnavis government to have been linked with Dawood. Earlier, Eknath Khadse in his capacity as revenue minister, is also alleged to have received calls from Dawood's sister in 2016.