Former Shiv Sena leader-turned-Congressman and industries minister Narayan Rane on Thursday alleged that the Shiv Sena was paid by industrialists a bribe of Rs500 crore to stage agitations against the proposed Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project in Ratnagiri district of the state.
“I have definite information that 11 corporates (who either run or propose to set up coal-based thermal power projects in the state) offered the Sena R500 crore to stall Jaitapur plant,” Rane told a stunned legislative Assembly on the last day of the Budget Session.
His logic: The industrialists who are running or building thermal power plants in the state did not want cheap power from nuclear plant to be made available for the government so that they sell power generated by them at higher cost.
Rane assured to produce evidence to corroborate his charge. The minister, who belongs to the Konkan region, wants the nuclear plant to happen at any cost because he feels that the project would develop economy of the backward region.
Early this week, one protester died in police firing during the Sena-sponsored agitation. Rane alleged that the agitation was a political conspiracy against the government and the local people who want development.
Sena’s executive president Uddhav Thackeray rubbished Rane’s allegations as baseless. “Rane is finished as a leader. The allegations are nothing but a feeble effort to show his existence. We don’t take him seriously.”
Thackeray suggested that Rane took up a role in television crime thrillers. “Rane can be a supporting actor in a serial like CID and entertain people.”