As they wait for the decision on chief minister Ashok Chavan’s and their own political fate, former Maharashtra chief ministers, Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushilkumar Shinde and Narayan Rane, denied allegations that they aided the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society scam.Deshmukh, Shinde and Rane are all vying for Chavan’s job.
Vilasrao Deshmukh, who is Union heavy industries minister, said he approved the letter of intent from 20 people who wanted to become members of Adarsh Society.
“I did so after Ashok Chavan, the then state revenue minister, made a recommendation,” Deshmukh said. “I did it in good faith because the minister [Chavan] had already approved it.”
There were allegations that three of Deshmukh’s acquaintances are members of the society, which is building the 31-storeyed structure on land meant for housing Kargil war heroes and widows. Kin and supporters of bureaucrats, politicians and defence officers have allegedly got flats in the Colaba tower.
Deshmukh denied having recommended any members. “It’s a conspiracy to defame me,” he said adding that none of the members was his aide or relative.
Chavan, too, has denied his role in adding civilians’ names to the list.
Sushilkumar Shinde, Union power minister said whatever he did when he was chief minister was legal. Adarsh society got the land in 2004 when Shinde was the CM. “There is hardly any activity in Delhi over the Adarsh society issue,” Shinde said.
Revenue minister Narayan Rane, who was the chief minister when the proposal for Adarsh Housing Society first came in 1999, said: “I did not influence the society to get memberships for my friends or supporters.”
Maharashtra energy minister Ajit Pawar also denied recommending members to the society.