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Congress wants Maharashtra CM to clear air over deposing before Lokayukta panel

Congress general secretary and spokesperson Sachin Sawant said on Tuesday that though Fadnavis had himself said that the Lokayukta will be given additional powers to enable him to call chief minister for the inquiry, he should clarify about the existing legal aspects

mumbai Updated: Aug 23, 2017 01:37 IST
Surendra Gangan
Surendra Gangan
Hindustan Times
Maharashtra,Mumbai,Devendra Fadnavis
Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is likely to depose before Lokayukta who is set to probe into the allegations of corruption and irregularities against state housing minister Prakash Mehta.(HT photo)

The Congress has demanded that chief minister Devendra Fadnavis should come clear on the probe into the allegations of irregularities by housing minister Prakash Mehta. The probe by Lokayukta was announced by the government on the last day of the legislative session that ended on August 11.

Congress general secretary and spokesperson Sachin Sawant said on Tuesday that though Fadnavis had himself said that the Lokayukta will be given additional powers to enable him to call chief minister for the inquiry, he should clarify about the existing legal aspects. “There is no provision in Maharashtra Lokayukt and Up-Lokayukt Act 1971 to call the chief minister for inquiry. CM has said that he wishes to empower the Lokayukta and keen to face the probe, but he should clarify if the legal opinion was in the favour of such empowerment,” he said.

Sawant said that since no such empowerment was possible, the government should come out with and ordinance amending the Act. “Section 17(1) has the provision additional power to the Lokayukta by the Governor, but this empowerement does not mean inclusion of chief minister in the ambit of the Act. The empowerment is related only to the inquiry. Section 7 (1) has the provision of summoning ministers, bureacrats and other public servants for the probe. The CM himself should clear the air about this confusion,” he added.

Mehta had issued orders in June this year allowing a developer to use building originally sanctioned for a Slum Rehabilitation project. The developer reportedly would have got the windfall of Rs800 crore Since Mehta had remarked on the file of approval that the CM had been informed about the proposal, the latter also becomes the subject to the probe.

First Published: Aug 23, 2017 01:37 IST