Congress says Maharashtra CM must quit, demands action against bureaucrats in river anthem video 
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Congress says Maharashtra CM must quit, demands action against bureaucrats in river anthem video 

Asserts babus violated service rules, but Chief Minister’s Office denies all allegations in clarification

mumbai Updated: Mar 04, 2018 00:09 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Surendra P Gangan
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Devendra Fadnavis,river anthem
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and his wife Amruta in the river anthem video.(HT FILE)

The Congress has again trained its guns on chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, his wife Amruta and bureaucrats for participating in the video that featured them for the message of the conservation of the rivers in Mumbai. Calling participation of the bureaucrats a violation of the All India Services (Conduct) Rules, the party has also raised questions over alleged misuse of Fadnavis’ official bungalow Varsha and shooting in the core area of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).

The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), however, refuted all the allegations in a clarification it issued on Saturday.

Demanding Fadnavis’ resignation citing moral responsibility for the misuse of his power, Congress general secretary and spokesperson Sachin Sawant said that it was not clear if civic and police commissioners of Mumbai and other government officials had participated in the video with due permission. Sawant said the video was produced by a commercial firm and an NGO indulging in commercial activities and bureaucrats were not allowed to participate in such commercial activities. Sawant said prior permissions were not taken to use the Varsha bungalow and SGNP for the shooting of the said video.

“In accordance with the service rules, the officials deserve strict action against them. It was clarified earlier by the government that they participated on their own for a noble cause, but it appears that it was on the insistence of their political boss. Since the CM has put them in an awkward situation by forcing them to participate in the shooting, he should take the responsibility and resign,” the Congress spokesperson said in a press conference on Saturday. Sawant also produced the copy of the service rules and a ticket reportedly sold by the NGO River March for the ‘River March’ on March 4 to corroborate his claims.

The CMO, while rubbishing the allegations, clarified that the service rules allow bureaucrats to participate in non-commercial activities for a noble cause without prior permission. “The River March is not an organisation, but its an initiative started by the citizens seven years ago. Its environment-friendly drives were appreciated at all levels including that by the Union environment ministry. The CM and his wife’s participation was in response to the appeal made by the NGO. The sale of the tickets for the river march on March 4 was not done by the NGO, but by a crowd sourcing website. Criminal action is being taken against the website. Finally, the due permission for the shooting at SGNP was taken on February 5 by paying the fees,” the statement said.

First Published: Mar 04, 2018 00:09 IST