Ashok Chavan under scanner over transfer of Worli flats to his daughters, says BJP minister

BJP raises questions about the wills of two ex-MLAs in Maharashtra who left two flats to the Nanded MP’s daughters

mumbai Updated: Oct 10, 2017 13:29 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
ASHOK CHAVAN,NANDED POLLS,MAHARASHTRA POLITICS
Congress MP from Nanded, Maharashtra, Ashok Chavan.(HT File)

Two days before the Nanded civic polls in Maharashtra, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) state revenue minister Chandrakant Patil disclosed that a probe was underway against former Congress chief minister Ashok Chavan over the allegedly illegal transfer of two flats to his daughters in Mumbai’s upscale Worli locality.

Chavan will be defending his home turf in the Nanded municipal polls on Wednesday. His party has controlled the Nanded Municipal Corporation for the past 15 years, and the BJP is pulling out all stops to storm the Congress’ last citadel in the state.

Patil made the announcement about the inquiry against Chavan on the sidelines of a party press conference held on Monday to defend BJP president Amit Shah following demands by the state Congress unit that he resign.

Investigations are underway over the transfer of two flats in Worli’s Shubhada housing society that belonged to deceased legislators, Baburao Auralkar Patil and Narayan Patil, who allegedly willed them to Chavan’s daughters Srijaya and Sujaya, Patil said. The society is built on collector land and its members include legislators. “These flats have been sealed, and there is an inquiry over this transfer,” Patil told media.

However, when Hindustan Times asked Mumbai city collector Sampada Mehta about the sealing of flats, she said: “I don’t remember passing any such order for any such action in any such matter.” She also did not confirm whether her office was conducting an inquiry over the transfer of these flats.

Chavan told HT that the BJP clearly had political intentions in raking up the matter just ahead of the Nanded elections. “There is nothing illegal in this case. I spoke to the minister, and he denied that he discussed this issue with media. He also said there is no such inquiry underway. How is it that such an allegation is made a day before the polls? Whatever has been done is completely legal and above board,” the Nanded MP said.

Sources said the two legislators were close to Chavan’s family and in their wills named his daughters as nominees of their flats. Chavan’s family got the probate of the wills and sought the transfer of flats in the girls’ names three years ago. This file went to the collector for a no-objection certificate as is the norm since the society stands on collector’s land.

One bone of contention seems to have been over the payment of transfer fees for these flats. Chavan had questioned the payment as the flats were transferred on the basis of wills. The BJP is likely to question the validity of the will, officials said.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is likely to take the final call in this case; the revenue department has sought legal opinion on the matter.

In 2010, Chavan was forced to step down as Maharashtra’s chief minister following allegations that his family members got three flats in Colaba’s Adarsh Tower, originally meant for soldiers but occupied by legislators, bureaucrats, ministers and army officials. He is currently engaged in a legal battle in high court over the BJP government’s decision to charge-sheet him in the Adarsh scam case, after Maharashtra governor C Vidyasagar Rao gave the CBI the go-ahead to prosecute him. During Congress’ tenure, Rao’s predecessor K Sankarnarayanan had denied the CBI sanction on the grounds that there was no evidence against Chavan.

First Published: Oct 10, 2017 13:29 IST