Ten new min­is­ters sworn in, CM to al­lo­cate port­fo­lios to­day FOR A STRONGER CAB­I­NET

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Ra­jesh Ahuja ra­jesh.ahuja@hin­dus­tan­times.com HT Correspondent ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com WHO TOOK THE OATH

The gov­ern­ment is clos­ing in on con­tro­ver­sial TV evan­ge­list Dr Zakir Naik with a mul­ti­pronged plan of ac­tion that may in­clude the reg­is­tra­tion of an FIR by the NIA, tak­ing his Peace TV off ca­ble tele­vi­sion and a re­view of per­mis­sion to his out­fit to get for­eign aid, of­fi­cial sources said.

Naik, a doc­tor-turned-preacher, has al­ways been on the radar of se­cu­rity agen­cies for mak­ing state­ments like “If Osama bin Laden is ter­ror­is­ing the US, I am with him” and “9/11 was an in­side job”. But he has come un­der re­newed fo­cus af­ter au­thor­i­ties in Bangladesh linked him to last week’s ter­ror strike on a Dhaka café, say­ing some of the at­tack­ers were mo­ti­vated by his speeches.

The as­sault claimed by the Is­lamic State left 20 peo­ple dead, in­clud­ing a 19-year-old In­dian girl. “We have taken cog­ni­sance of Zakir Naik’s speeches and given in­struc­tions for a probe. CDs of his speeches are be­ing ex­am­ined,” home min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh said Fri­day. “The Na­tional In­ves­ti­ga­tion Agency is plan­ning to reg­is­ter an FIR against Zakir Naik. Le­gal opin­ion is be­ing sought,” a min­istry of­fi­cial said.

Deven­dra Fad­navis ex­panded his min­istry on Fri­day in­duct­ing ten new faces but put off port­fo­lio al­lo­ca­tion to Satur­day. Spec­u­la­tion was rife through the day on who would get what, but the chief min­is­ter played his cards close to his chest.

In a turn­around from its ag­gres­sive stance, the Shiv Sena, which had to make do with two ju­nior min­is­ter posts in the ex­pan­sion, said it was not un­happy.

Of the ten new min­is­ters, six were from the BJP, two from the Sena, and one each from the Rashtriya Sa­maj Pak­sha and the Swab­hi­mani Pak­sha. Min­is­ter of state Ram Shinde (BJP was el­e­vated to cab­i­net rank.

Though there was no of­fi­cial word, the cru­cial rev­enue port­fo­lio is likely to go to pub­lic works min­is­ter Chan­drakant Patil, and agri­cul­ture to Pan­durang Phund­kar, an old BJP hand and three time party MP. The buzz CM Deven­dra Fad­navis (left) greets Pan­durang Phund­kar, as gover­nor Ch Vidyasagar Rao looks on. was that the co­op­er­a­tive sec­tor heavy­weight from So­la­pur, Sub­hash Desh­mukh, could get the im­por­tant co­op­er­a­tion de­part­ment that con­trols the ru­ral econ­omy, but this had not fi­nalised till late on Fri­day evening.


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