The Nationalist Congress Party is at a loss to explain the turn of events after the meeting Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil had with some alleged underworld elements at his party colleague Naseem Siddiqui's residence.
According to a television channel, Patil met Salim Patel alias Salim Goa Gutka, Mobin Qureshi and Irfan Qureshi, who all allegedly have criminal antecedents. Patel is said to be a close aide of Dawood Ibrahim, one of India's most wanted criminals.
Though no party leader has officially commented, a party source said, "This issue has been raked by some persons within the party who were envious of the Siddiqui's clout with senior party leaders. They were the same people who in the past, too, alerted the media about Siddiqui's guests when former home minister Chhagan Bhujbal visited him."
The channel, which broadcast the said meeting, claimed Patel has connections with Dawood Ibrahim.
However, Siddiqui, knowing well that Patel is a close aide of Dawood's sister Haseena, denied his presence in the gathering, defended his other two guests, saying that Mobin was a party functionary and that Qureshi was a reputed builder.
The home department has ordered an inquiry into the 'lapse' by the police who failed to check the credentials of the guests who attended the party.