The alleged green violations in Lake City Project of Lavasa Corporation has pitted two cabinet ministers — Jairam Ramesh and Sharad Pawar — against each other.
"I can't understand the notice to Lavasa," said agriculture minister Pawar, who had conceived the project near Pune. The NCP chief also said his ministry's opinion should have been taken before issuing the notice.
He, however, hoped that the environment ministry would take decision on merit. On Monday, the Lavasa Corporation had accused Ramesh of acting on behest of political activists Medha Patkar and Prakash Ambedkar and said the notice was not based on law.
Ramesh responded on Tuesday terming the allegations "unfortunate and unfair", saying "there was no prejudice involved in the show-cause notice". He also denied allegations that there was bias or witch-hunt against the Lavasa, where Pawar has some stake.
Pawar had expressed concern on the environment ministry's stop work order saying the project has started and 1,600 houses have been sold. "What will happen to the labourers working there?" he asked. Ramesh refused to comment.
The environment ministry officials, however, said all issues raised in Lavasa's reply would be answered in Bombay High Court, where the show cause notice has been challenged.
Pawar came out in defence of the corporate world, cautioning the government over "excessive use" of the CBI against business houses. He was apparently referring to a probe into the loan bribery scam and the phone tapping controversy.
He also wanted the government to take serious note of Rata Tata's comment that India risked turning into a banana republic over alleged witch hunt against the corporate world.
The Congress reacted by saying that the law was above everyone and that is the fundamental dictum, which must apply to all corporates without fear or favour.