With a stable government now in place, will the chief minister sanction an open inquiry into the alleged involvement of top Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders in multi-crore scams?
The state anti-corruption bureau had earlier found substance in cases of corruption against former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and former ministers Sunil Tatkare and Chhagan Bhujbal in a discreet inquiry. It then sought permission from the chief minister for an open inquiry.
While Pawar and Tatkare were under the lens for their alleged role in the irrigation scam, Bhujbal was probed in connection with financial irregularities in the construction of Maharashtra Sadan.
The files related to the permission sought for an open inquiry have been lying with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis for the last five weeks.
With the Sena officially joining the government, a decision on the file may be taken at the earliest.
“The BJP-led government in the state no longer requires the NCP’s support of the NCP to stay afloat. It would now be easier for Fadnavis to give sanction to the open inquiry at the earliest,” said a senior Congress leader, requesting anonymity. The ACB had sought sanction for the irrigation scam-related probe in August, and received clearance on September 1. Before then CM Prithviraj Chavan could act on it, his government fell.
With President’s Rule imposed, both files were sent to Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao. “It would not be possible to reveal if he (governor) had gone through the file, but no decision was taken by him,” an official from Raj Bhavan said.
“There was no reason for him to take a decision in the last few days of President’s Rule as it is a sort of political decision,” the official said. When the BJP-led government came to power, the file was forwarded to the chief minister’s office for further action.
NCP leader Nawab Malik said: "Our leaders have clarified that they are ready to face any type of inquiry as they have not done anything wrong. We are sure nothing will come out of this probe. The allegations that we offered support to the government for political immunity is baseless."
“We have not received any communication from the government on this matter,” said Pravin Dixit, director general of police, ACB.