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Clean chit to Maharashtra IAS officer was to safeguard interests of BJP leaders: Opposition

Raise questions over reinstation of Radheshyam Mopalwar as MSRDC vice-chairman

mumbai Updated: Dec 29, 2017 00:25 IST
Surendra Gangan
Surendra Gangan
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,radheshyam mopalwar,samruddhi corridor

The Opposition on Thursday raised questions over the alleged haste shown by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ government while reinstating controversial IAS officer Radheshyam Mopalwar as vice-chairman and managing director of the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) by giving him a clean chit and wondered why he was being favoured out of turn, compared to others who are also facing corruption charges. The Opposition alleged that Mopalwar was reinstated to safeguard the interests of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and

bureaucrats who have purchased tracks of land alongside the Samruddhi corridor between Nagpur and Mumbai.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress also alleged that the state and central governments are conspiring to take crucial projects like the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) and International Stock Exchange away to Gujarat.

Mopalwar was suspended from the post of managing director and vice-chairman of MSRDC after audio clips of him asking for bribes went viral earlier this year. The state government later reinstated him after a three-member committee cleared the 1995-batch officer of all charges.

The NCP and the Congress targeted the Fadnavis government over its decision to reinstate Mopalwar, saying the entire probe against him appears to be “fixed.” “How can the CD containing Mopalwar’s voice be declared doctored when other CDs were authenticated by the committee probing the corruption charges against the officer? There is room for suspicion if his involvement in the irregularities in Samruddhi corridor had links with key leaders in the government made it inevitable to save him. Others like former revenue minister Eknath Khadse who are facing corruption charges are waiting for action into the probe reports (into allegations against them), when Mopalwar was given clean chit in just four months,” said Congress general secretary and spokesperson Sachin Sawant.

NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said Mopalwar’s reinstatement was to ensure the prosperity of some Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and bureaucrats. “Influential leaders and officers have purchased tracks of lands alongside the Samruddhi corridor between Nagpur and Mumbai. Mopalwar’s reinstation was with the intention of safeguarding the interests of such people. The Samruddhi corridor is for the prosperity (Samruddhi) of a select few instead of the backward region of Marathwada and Vidarbha as claimed by the government,” he said.

Sawant, while citing a reply given by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley in the Parliament over the proposed IFSC at Bandra Kurla Complex, said that like other key projects, the financial centre has also been taken away to Gujarat. “Jaitley, in a reply to Chhota Udaipur MP Ramsing Rathva, has said that a second IFSC in Mumbai would be infeasible when one is planned at GIFT City in Gujarat. This means, contrary to the claims by the Maharashtra government, the plan of the IFSC at BKC has been scrapped by the Centre. The Fadnavis government was fully aware about the facts related to the IFSC, but kept playing with the sentiments of the people of Maharashtra despite knowing about its non-feasibility,” he said.

Sawant said that with the proposed IFSC going to Gujarat, the International Stock Exchange that has been proposed as its integral part, will also be shifted to GIFT City, thereby diminishing the importance of the Bombay Stock Exchange. He also sought an explanation on both the issues from Fadnavis.

First Published: Dec 29, 2017 00:25 IST