Slum rehab scheme corruption case: Lokayukta allows Prakash Mehta to appear on January 8
State Lokayukta ML Tahiliyani, in his preliminary investigation, found substance in the allegations of corruption against the minister.mumbai Updated: Dec 07, 2017 21:44 IST
The state housing minister, Prakash Mehta, will now appear before the Maharashtra Lokayukta on January 8 to give his clarification in a corruption case in connection with the slum rehabilitation scheme at MP Mill compound in Tardeo.
State Lokayukta ML Tahiliyani, in his preliminary investigation, found substance in the allegations of corruption against the minister. To get the minister’s version, the Lokayukta asked him to appear before him on December 6.
Mehta on Wednesday sought time for a month on the grounds that he is currently busy campaigning for the Gujarat elections, after which he will have to attend the winter session of the state legislature starting in Nagpur from December 11.
The Lokayukta has asked Mehta to file his explanation supported by an affidavit. He has also been allowed to produce true copies of the documents on which he wants to rely for his defence, senior officials said.
On the request of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, the governor on September 6 ordered a Lokayukta investigation into the scheme. On November 22, the Lokayukta wrote to governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao and chief minister, informing them that he is inclined to conduct an investigation in the case based on the findings of his preliminary investigation.
The Lokayukta found the housing minister’s approval to a proposal of the slum rehabilitation authority (SRA) to use section 3K of Slum Act – which allows extra building rights to be transferred to a scheme for project affected persons (PAP) -- improper. “The housing minister should have rejected the proposal as the section empowers the state to issue directives related to policy making and cannot be used for a particular case,” the Lokayukta said in the report.
The approval resulted in benefit of extra sale component of 10255.88sqm, the Lokayukta pointed out. “In the present case, it is necessary to determine whether the minister abused his position as public servant to obtain gains for a developer or was actuated by improper motives,” said the Lokayukta report.