Uttam Khobragade, a 1984-batch IAS officer and father of India’s deputy consul-general in New York, Devyani Khobragade, aspired to become a Rajya Sabha MP following his retirement. Khobragade, who was BEST General Manager, FDA Commissioner, MHADA CEO and suburban Mumbai collector, had approached political parties soon after his retirement early last year.
He is not affiliated to any party but confirmed that he is “in talks with some parties”. Khobragade, 62, has been vocal about the alleged ill-treatment meted out to his daughter by US authorities.
He comes from a scheduled caste family in Chandrapur district. He approached the Republican Party of India (Athawale) in the hope of a Rajya Sabha nomination from the party.
While RPI(A) president Ramdas Athawale said Khobragade approached him first, Khobragade claimed it was the party that got in touch with him offering to make him its executive president.
“Ramdas Athawale approached me to become the executive president of the party. I asked for a Rajya Sabha nomination which he was not willing to promise. So the talks ended there,” said Khobragade.
Athawale, who is himself known to be seeking a Rajya Sabha nomination, said Khobragade was offered a Lok Sabha seat from Ramtek in Latur which he rejected. Sources said Khobragade is believed to have approached several factions of Dalit parties.
Asked if he has joined Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Jan Shakti Party, he said: “I did have talks with them but the party has no presence in Maharashtra so I opted out. I am in talks with some parties at present whose names I am not willing to disclose right now.”
Khobragade’s name had also figured in the Adarsh Housing Society scam and he was accused by the CBI of helping Adarsh use higher FSI than permitted by allegedly transferring an adjoining plot reserved for a BEST bus depot to Adarsh. He and Devyani, it was alleged, had got a flat each in the society as quid pro quo.
Khobragade, who had denied any wrongdoing in the case, Wednesday said he and Devyani would not return the apartments.
“We purchased the flat under the reserved quota after paying the correct price. Why should we return the flat?” he asked.
Devyani, who already owned a house in Mumbai — which too was allotted under the state government’s 10 per cent quota — got the Adarsh flat after she applied for it.
The Adarsh apartment is one of 11 immovable properties