Maharashtra election commissioner and former chief secretary JS Saharia has lost the chance to occupy a bungalow opposite the Mantralaya, and may have to settle for a flat instead.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has revoked his earlier order, allotting the A-6 bungalow to Saharia last month. The house now goes to Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, the leader of opposition in the state assembly.
The general administration department (GAD) had strongly opposed the allotment of the bungalow, meant for ministers, to an officer, claiming it was against the precedent.
But Fadnavis had gone ahead with his decision. The bungalow had earlier been occupied by Arif Naseem Khan, former minorities’ welfare minister.
However, after two weeks ago, the department put up the file again, this time with the intervention of chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya.
The department contended that the number of bungalows available for ministers is lesser than the granted number of berths in the state Cabinet. It had stated there are only 33 bungalows – next to the Mantralaya, Malabar Hills, Napean Sea Road and Pedder Road – and there can be trouble with allotments in the future.
This time, Fadnavis agreed to the department’s claim.
“The chief minister directed the department to cancel the earlier order and issue a new order of allotting the bungalow to Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, the leader of opposition in the state Assembly. Saharia has been informed of the new order,” said an officer from the GAD.
Saharia has now written to Fadnavis, asking him to reconsider his latest decision.
In his submission, Saharia has said his position is a quasi-judicial post and deserves the allotment of the bungalow. He reportedly has cited court orders in support of his contention.
“I have requested the CM to give the decision a second thought. It is now up to him to decide,” Saharia told HT.
CM Fadnavis, earlier, had turned down the request of allotment of a bungalow to advocate general Sunil Manohar, who has now been allotted a 3-BHK flat opposite the Mantralaya.