The tug of war between Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena ministers in the Devendra Fadnavis government continues, this time in the revenue department.
Revenue minister Eknath Khadse on Thursday alleged that his deputy, Sanjay Rathod of the Sena, wanted the sensitive and 'lucrative' files related to the temple watan and land belonging to the tribals, to settle land disputes.
Rathod, who had earlier accused Khadse of not allocating any work or power to him, has, however, rubbished the claim. Khadse, meanwhile, said he already handed over around 57 files to his deputy.
“An order was issued on January 22 to hand over 53 files related to urban land measurements, settlement, border issues, allocation of rights for fishing in government ponds, relief and rehabilitation in natural calamities, among others. Rathod was, however, insisting that he gets the power to make decision in the cases related to transfer of the land belonging to the tribals and the land of temple watans,” said Khadse.
The minister added the ruling given by the previous government for the transfer of the watan land has led to the controversy and in some cases the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) has initiated investigations. “We wanted the due process to be followed in such cases to avoid further controversies and so the MoS was not given the right to handle them," he said.
The ACB has registered a graft case against former minister of state for revenue Suresh Dhas in a graft case related to the transfer of temple watan.
Raising doubts over his deputy’s intention, Khadse said he was the only minister in the government to hand over the rights to his deputy. He alleged that Rathod shielded corrupt officers in the department. “Rathod has reinstated some officers, who were trapped and booked by the ACB,” he claimed.
The MoS said he was demanding nothing but the rights of an MoS. "I am not demanding anything unusual. If my minister was worried about the controversies and corruption, he should leave it to me. Why has he handed over the cases that are insignificant in nature? If he is saying that no decision was taken with regards to the tribal land, who cleared 70 files?" Rathod said. He claimed he did not sign a single file in two months and there was no question of reinstating of any corrupt officers.