Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan is trying to clear his name after allegations were made that he favoured a builder in redeveloping a housing society in Thane.
The case has become an embarrassment for Chavan, who holds the urban development portfolio. The CM has been accused of helping the builder on the recommendation of the leader of the Opposition in the legislative assembly, Eknath Khadse.
On Friday, Chavan asked Thane municipal commissioner RA Rajeev to probe the matter and submit a report. “Ever since I became CM, I have taken transparent decisions in housing and urban development for the benefit of people,” Chavan said.
The CM is accused of staying a proposal to redevelop Shrish Housing Society in Thane (West) by the residents. Khadse is reported to have urged Chavan to do so. Khadse had complained to the government against the same builder in 2005-06 for taking up the project, but changed his mind after five years.
The residents had entered into a contract with the builder in 2002. They cancelled the contract later after finding irregularities. The matter went to the Thane civil court, which ruled in favour of the residents.
Some society members then decided to redevelop the property on their own. At this juncture, Khadse is accused of supporting the builder and petitioning Chavan in 2011.
Following Khadse’s request, Chavan stayed the project. He also mentioned Khadse’s recommendation on his stay order. Enraged society residents objected to this and asked for a hearing in January 2012 by the urban development secretary, who, after understanding their grievances, advised the CM’s office against staying the project in favour of the builder.
Khadse was not reachable. His office said he was abroad and would explain his position on his return.