Opposition rocked the Maharashtra legislature over reports of a discreet anti-corruption bureau inquiry into an alleged disproportionate assets case against minister of state for home Ranjeet Patil.
Patil is known to be a confidant of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. As the opposition demanded for Patil’s resignation, the CM said the inquiry was routine and action will be taken only if there is any substance to the complaint against Patil.
The anti-corruption bureau (ACB) asked its Amravati division to conduct the discreet inquiry after a complaint from an RTI activist. A high-level officer from the Amravati division has been conducting the inquiry.
The opposition raised the issue in both the houses and demanded a thorough inquiry.
Jayant Patil, NCP’s group leader in the Assembly, said the case of disproportionate assets has endangered the credibility of a government that claims to be transparent.
“The minister with the responsibility of the security of the people, has an air suspicion dangling around him. To ensure an unbiased inquiry, the resignation of the minister is was a must. The government should come clean,” he said.
Following the uproar, Fadnavis clarified in both the houses that the inquiry had not yet arrived at a conclusion.
“The Amravati division of the ACB initiated the inquiry based on the complaint received from RTI activist Vikrant Kate. On receiving the complaint against Patil, another former minister and a few government officials, the ACB headquarters transferred it to its Amravati office. This has been an inquiry like any other, initiated on getting a complaint by any government office,” the CM said.
An official from the home department said: “It is only after substance is found in the discreet inquiry, does the ACB start an open inquiry in any case.”
Ranjit Patil, who is originally from Akola, has been elected to the legislative Council from the Amravati graduate constituency. He known to be close to Fadnavis and has been given charge of two significant departments – urban development and home, as a junior minister. Both these departments are headed by Fadnavis.