The CBI should investigate Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar’s role in the construction of the Lavasa hill city in Pune district, Gopinath Munde, the BJP’s deputy leader in Lok Sabha, demanded on Monday.
The agency should also look at the rotting food grains issue, he said.
Lavasa has recently been in the news after the Union environment ministry asked the Maharashtra government to look into allegations that the project violated environmental norms, as reported in HT.
While the Centre has asked for details of the project’s green clearance, the state revenue department is looking at its land purchase transactions.
“Lavasa is the biggest scandal of the decade,” said Munde, who was speaking to the media in Pune at the inauguration of an exhibition.
He alleged that there were at least 47 irregularities while sanctioning the Lavasa project. Tribal land was taken away forcibly, and “only a CBI inquiry will bring out the truth”, he said.
The BJP will raise the issue in the state Assembly and Parliament, he said.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, however, said he saw no reason for a CBI inquiry. “The revenue department is probing the matter independently and will submit its report in the coming days,” he said.
Munde also hit out at the NCP chief for letting food grains in godowns rot instead of supplying them to the poor, despite a Supreme Court order, and said Pawar should be removed from his post as the food and civil supplies minister. He added that the BJP is considering taking Pawar to court for contempt of court on the food grains issue.
Meanwhile, state Congress president Manikrao Thakre said the party wants the state government to probe if there were any irregularities in the land transactions. “The Congress’ position on Lavasa is, if there are any irregularities, the government should look into it,” he said.
Pawar could not be contacted. NCP spokesperson Madan Bafna denied that Pawar and his family had anything to do with the project.
“Is it a crime to guide or advise anybody?” Bafna asked. “The inquiry is in progress, the court case is going on. Everybody is equal before the law.”
Supriya Sule, Pawar’s daughter and NCP MP, and her husband Sadanand had stakes in the project, but they exited from Lavasa in 2006.
Lavasa Corporation, through recently issued advertisements, denied that the project has any political linkage and that it had acquired tribal land.