Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, on Thursday, said that a competitive media, judiciary and the sunshine law (Right to Information Act) have played a key role in creating an impression that corruption was all pervading in the state and country.
"An active and competitive media, and its corporate ownership, have led to levelling of many untested and unsubstantiated allegations. The specific role played by the judiciary is also one of the reasons for this," said Chavan.
Chavan's remarks came during a debate on graft in the state assembly. The chief minister, who was defending his government from allegations of corruption and subsequent inaction, said that once such allegations were flashed on TV channels or made headlines in newspapers, it was very difficult for a person to prove his innocence or clear his image.
"Many cases are sub-judice and no final verdict is out… but once an allegation is made against politicians and officials on TV or [in] newspapers, there is no way out. All of us have been victims of this," Chavan said.
Chavan pointed out that all this had led to a more cautious government, where there was an overall wariness in taking decisions and a tendency among officials to make negative remarks on files, rather than positive.
The context in which Chavan made these remarks cannot be ignored. The government is on the backfoot fighting several land and housing scams. To add to it, the recent CAG report accused several politicians of wrongdoing. Amid all this, the government is seeing the favourable interim report on the Adarsh housing scam as a moral victory.
The Opposition, however, slammed the state in the debate by pointing out several scams, and high court strictures against the state and its senior politicians like Kripashankar Singh and Vilasrao Deshmukh.
Khadse alleged a Rs1,200-crore scam in Mumbai Repair and Reconstruction Board, where 33 developers did not hand over the requisite tenaments to MHADA. The developers sold these tenaments in the open market without taking any permissions. Khadse accused board engineers of working in nexus with developers, leading to loss for the state.