Following a series of embarrassments over questionable land allotments in Maharashtra during his tenure as chief minister, union science and technology minister Vilasrao Deshmukh is under pressure to quit.
As the Opposition demanded Deshmukh’s resignation, senior Congress leaders left the decision to the party high command.
On Wednesday, Deshmukh was rapped by the Supreme Court over the allotment of government land in Mumbai to film training school Whistling Woods, which belongs to filmmaker Subhash Ghai.
The same day, a leaked CAG report on preferential land allotments in Maharashtra indicted Deshmukh for allotting a plot in Mumbai’s Borivili to his Manjra Charitable Trust.
The 23,840-sq-m plot, with a market value of Rs. 30.37 crore, was allotted at Rs. 6.56 crore to set up a dental college, the report said.
As then chief minister, Deshmukh made the allotment. “While scrutinising records, it was noticed that out of four applicants, the chief minister had approved the application of Manjra Charitable Trust for allotment… without assigning any specific reasons for the preferential allotment," said the report.
Even so, till 2011, no construction had been started at the site. “I will not comment as the report has not yet been tabled,” Deshmukh told the media. “I am sure I have not been named in the report.”
Deshmukh also awaits court verdict in at least three more cases — two land allotments in his hometown Latur, and Mumbai’s Adarsh society scam, in which he is accused of changing reservation of land on which a multi-storied tower was built by politicians, bureaucrats and defence officials.