Hours after Shiv Sena MLA and former minister Suresh Jain was arrested by the Jalgaon police for his alleged role in the Gharkul Housing Scheme, civil activist Anna Hazare demanded that Jain’s property should be confiscated by the state if the allegations were found to be true.
“The scam seems to be worth Rs 250-300 cr. If he is guilty the state government should attach his entire property and recover the money,” Hazare said.
Hazare demanded that there should be no political interference in the investigations, and that the investigating officer should not be transferred mid-way.
On Sunday, Jain denied his involvement in the housing scam. Arguing in the court which remanded him to police custody till March 19, he said that he was not an accused and was being framed in a political conspiracy. He said that the state government and then chief minister also knew about the loan sanctioned for the scheme.
Hazare, on the other hand, demanded a probe into all schemes that were undertaken by the former minister.
Hazare and seven-time MLA Suresh Jain share an uneasy relationship, bordering on hostility. In 2003, Hazare had accused four ministers in the erstwhile Congres-NCP government, including Suresh Jain, of corruption. He had subsequently gone on a hunger strike demanding action against the ministers, after which a commission headed by Justice P B Sawant was appointed by the state to probe the allegations.
The commission had indicted Jain, who was then in the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and was forced to resign from the government.
Jain, however, did not take things lying down. He insisted that the commission also investigate the alleged corruption in the Azad Hind Trust run by Hazare. The commission did not find any merit in the charges of corruption against Hazare, but passed strictures saying that Rs 2 lakh that belonged to the trust was misused for Hazare’s felicitation.
Suresh Jain subsequently filed a defamation case under sections 499 and 500 of the IPC against Hazare for calling him corrupt and a goon.
Jain, who wields considerable influence in Jalgaon district, subsequently had a fallout with NCP chief Sharad Pawar, after which he joined the Shiv Sena.