The Madhya Pradesh government might decide to hold back the sale of a three-acre government land, as the deal raised stink involving Industries Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya and his confidant Ramesh Mendola.
Since Urban Development Minister Babulal Gaur reportedly made up his mind not to clear the proposal, now it depends on the nod from Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan before a formal announcement is made.
In 2004, when Vijayvargiya was the mayor of Indore, he allegedly presided over the sale of the Rs 100-crore land, leased out to Dhanlaxmi Chemicals, to Nanda Nagar Sakh Sahkari Sanstha, a credit cooperative society headed by Mendola.
The Indore Municipal Corporation general council approved the move “in anticipation of governmental approval”.
Later, Mendola reportedly transferred the lease agreement to his own name and got the land-use condition changed from industrial to residential and educational and built 22 apartments on the land.
The issue came to light after a local court directed the Lokayukta on April 6 to probe the sale, following a complaint by Congress leader Suresh Seth. The directive was followed by reports of one questionable land deal after another, all featuring Vijayvargiya and Mendola.
When Suresh Seth claimed there was enough evidence to nail Vijayvargiya and Mendola, they retorted by saying that Seth was avenging his defeat in the assembly polls by lodging false allegations against them.
Mendola said on Friday: “Seth doesn’t want sons of labourers (referring to himself and Vijayvargiya) to succeed in life.”
The relentless media focus, however, seems to have unnerved the government, which is now expected to initiate a damage control move by withholding its approval to the sale.
Although the government’s veto is nearly certain, both administrative and political representatives are still tight-lipped, considering the involvement of key political figures.
For the same reason, the government may cite the municipality’s inability to make a strong enough case as the reason for denying the approval.