Three-and-a-half years after he was forced to resign as Maharashtra chief minister in the wake of the 26/11 terror attacks, Vilasrao Deshmukh, presently the Union science and technology minister, faces the threat of losing this post as well, on moral grounds.
After Wednesday's double whammy — the harsh indictment by the Supreme Court, followed by a yet-to-be-released CAG report questioning the allotment of land to an educational trust controlled by him — Deshmukh on Thursday had the Opposition gunning for his resignation, while the senior Congress brass left the decision to the party high command.
The SC had on Wednesday come down hard on the minister over his decision to allot state land to producer Subhash Ghai at a throwaway price, for film institute Whistling Woods. The same day, the CAG report indicted him for the preferential allotment of prime land at Borivli to the Manjra Charitable Trust, at a concessional rate. The trust is controlled by him.
Demanding his resignation, Opposition leader in the legislative council Vinod Tawde said it was time the Congress sacked Deshmukh. BJP national spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said in New Delhi that Deshmukh should clear his name in the SC observation and the land allotment (mentioned in the CAG report).
Deshmukh, refusing comment, as the report is yet to be tabled, said to the media: “I am sure my name has not been indicted by the report.”
Wednesday’s events are far from the beginning of Deshmukh’s troubles, whose name has also been raised in the Adarsh scam. He is also awaiting a court verdict for two land allotments in his hometown, Latur.