CIDCO deals to be probed by its own man
The state government has said that T.C. Benjamin, principal secretary (urban development department), will probe the City Industrial and Development Corporation’s (CIDCO) land deals from October 2009 to March 2010 worth Rs 2,500 crore.mumbai Updated: Jul 25, 2010 01:15 IST
The state government has said that T.C. Benjamin, principal secretary (urban development department), will probe the City Industrial and Development Corporation’s (CIDCO) land deals from October 2009 to March 2010 worth Rs 2,500 crore. That would be just fine, except for a small thing: Benjamin is himself on CIDCO’s board of directors.
The Opposition alleged that a probe conducted by a CIDCO board member cannot be fair. Leader of opposition in the state Assembly Eknath Khadse said he will complain to the Central Vigilance Commission.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on Thursday appointed a one-member panel of Benjamin to examine deals signed during the tenure of retired bureaucrat G.S. Gill, managing director of CIDCO in the last six months. All decisions on land use, change of land use and modification of tender clauses during this period have been stayed and will be probed.
As head of the urban development department (UDD), Benjamin has been a director on CIDCO’s board in the last six months and party to its policy decisions. He is still on the board. Besides, CIDCO, a planning authority for Navi Mumbai, technically comes under the UDD.
“How can this inquiry be fair when it is headed by one of CIDCO’s board members? It’s not far-fetched to say that the board members must have known of the deals. We don’t think anything will come out of it,” said Khadse.
However, joint managing director of CIDCO Tanaji Satre said there was conflict of interest: “The managing director of CIDCO has independent powers. His decisions in individual cases do not have to be ratified by the board.”