New Delhi/Mumbai, Nov 1 : Congress today appeared to be in no hurry to decide the fate of Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, under fire over the Mumbai housing scam, even as he faced a fresh row over allocation of prime mining land in Vidarbha to kin of party functionaries.
The party stuck to its position that it needed more time to study the documents in connection with the housing controversy which has sucked in Chavan. The Chief Minister seems to have got a breather after he offered to resign on Saturday.
After the two-member high-level Congress panel met party president Sonia Gandhi, Pranab Mukherjee said "Yesterday in the night I had said that we require more time to study the documents and report to the Congress President. That position continues." Defence Minister A K Antony is another member.
The Union Finance Minister said that at today's meeting with Gandhi, the Maharashtra issue was not discussed. The discussions centred on tomorrow's AICC meeting, he said. The Obama visit starting this week also apparently weighed on the minds of the Congress leadership.
According to the new charge against Chavan, Amol Thakre, son of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief Manikrao Thakre, and Praveen Kaswar, son of Yavatmal Congress MLA Wamanrao Kasawar are the two beneficiaries of allotment of 425 acres land for mining lime stone in Vidarbha during the tenure of Chavan as Industry Minister in 2008.
This was according to information obtained by RTI activist Vilas Wankhede from district mining officer in the district collectorate.
Embarrassed over involvement of some of its senior officers in the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society scam, the Army is also all set to order a court of inquiry while the Defence Ministry plans to slap show cause notices against serving officers in connection with the As more skeletons tumbled out in the scam, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said some top floors of the 31-storeyed high-rise building in upmarket Colaba might be demolished as they have been constructed in violation of green norms.
Chavan returned to Mumbai this morning awaiting his fate even as his known detractor and Union Industries Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh fuelled a blame game saying it was the Chief Minister as the then Revenue Minister had asked the controversial housing society to change the bye-laws to include civilians in it.
"The AICC enquiry is being carried out by two very senior and unblemished leaders and anyone who wants to say anything in the matter should give their views to them," party spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed told reporters in New Delhi.
Gunning for the Chief Minister, the Opposition parties in Maharashtra met Governor K Sankarnarayanan demanding dismissal of the Congress-NCP government over the Adarsh controversy.
BJP chief Nitin Gadkari also demanded dismissal of Maharashtra government for its alleged involvement in the Adarsh scam and said there seems to be a "constitutional breakdown" in the state as possible replacements for Chavan also face corruption charges.
Chavan had offered to resign on Saturday during a meeting with Gandhi in connection with his alleged role in the controversy over Adarsh Society which was supposedly meant for Kargil war heroes and widows.Congress MP from North Mumbai Sanjay Nirupam meanwhile said the BJP-Shiv Sena combine is also to be blamed for the housing scam.
As the Adarsh controversy raged, the promoters of the Housing Society decided to move the Bombay High Court against BEST and MMRDA for their decision to disconnect electricity supply to the society and revoke occupation certificates (OC) issued to its members.
Asked about any timeframe to the two-member committee to decide Chavan's fate, Minister of State in PMO Prithviraj Chavan said, "these are things where one has to go into details of what actually happened. There cannot be a trial by media." Lot of things have been said by the media. The veracity of it has to be found," he said.
On whether he is the possible successor to the current Mahashtra Chief Minister, Chavan said "at the moment, there is no vacancy. So let us not speculate on what will happen in the future."
Levelling the fresh charge against Chavan, RTI activist Wankhede said the land was alloted in Zari taluka of Yavatmal district, close to Anil Ambani's Reliance Cementation Plant. The area is rich in lime stone and dolomite.
Industry big wigs like Llyod Steel and state-owned Maharashtra State Mining Corporation (MSMC), whose financial standings are worth over Rs 500 crore, had also applied for land there, the RTI activist said.Thakre and Kaswar had produced solvency certificates of a meagre Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs four lakh respectively, he said.PTI