Shivaji statue project: Pune Cantonment Board to refund Rs 30 lakh to Inamdar
The statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to be unveiled at the Pune Cantonment Board’s (PCB) Golibar Maidan office has attracted attention even before its inauguration. The elected members of PCB have decided to return educationist and the Muslim Co-operative Bank Ltd, Pune, chairman PA Inamdar ₹30 lakh, the money he had given for funding the statue.
The emergency decision to refund the amount was taken after Shiv Sena and other activists protested against the board administration alleging that the name plaque of Inamdar as the main sponsor must not be allowed. The statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj has been installed towards the north east corner of the office lawn of the PCB premises at Golibar Maidan and is covered with white cloth as the no-objection certificate (NOC) from Pune police commissioner is awaited.
The meeting was attended by all the elected representatives, including top office-bearers of the board administration. PCB president Brigadier Rajiv Sethi said, “Elected members have taken a decision to refund ₹30 lakh to Inamdar,”
The PCB had decided to install a name plaque giving credit to Inamdar as the main sponsor of the statue which was slated to be inaugurated on February 19 on the occasion of Shiv Jayanti. The event was later postponed due to fear of protests. Officially, the PCB chief executive officer (CEO) DN Yadav maintained that due to non issuance of a requisite NOC from the office of commissioner of police, the statue could not be unveiled on February 19 as scheduled by the board.
The PCB administration has issued a written statement stating that the elected members have unanimously desired to extend their contribution for the installation of the statue as well. In this regard, the elected members have submitted various cheques. The elected members have informed the board that many other individuals and persons of the wards have also submitted cheques in favour of PCB towards generous contribution for the installation of the statue.During the discussion, the CEO and staff of PCB also desired to contribute for the statue.
The PCB release further stated that it was brought to their notice that Inamdar who is the president of Maharashtra Cosmopolitan Education Society has also clarified that if the elected members and others are now desirous to contribute towards the statue, all such generous persons should be given priority and opportunity to contribute. Inamdar said, “I am yet to go through the copy of the cantonment board resolution regarding the refund.”
The board has resolved to inaugurate the statue after obtaining the necessary NOC from the Pune police commissionerate without further delay. The decision has been forwarded to the office on February 21 itself to issue the notice without any further delay as some persons and groups may take it as an opportunity to make it an issue by exploiting the sentiments of residents, the PCB administration stated in its release. The Muslim Co-operative Bank Ltd, Pune, director SM Iqbal said that the board administration must also fund ₹5 lakh given towards the project. Iqbal said that if any money has been given from the muslim co-op bank to the PCB, then it must be credited back through official transaction to the bank and not directly to him in the event of the money being refunded by PCB. Inamdar has been facing a volley of brickbats from the Muslim community during the past one year. He was in the news in January when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raided the branches of bank where he is the chairman.
Flak from community
Parents of fourteen students of Abeda Inamdar Senior College for Girls who died in the drowning tragedy at Murud-Janjira beach in Mumbai had alleged negligence on the part of the college authorities in the aftermath of the incident and staged a massive protest against Inamdar . Inamdar is the president of Maharashtra Cosmopolitan Education Society (MCES), the group that runs the college. They also demanded strict action against Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) for shielding the culprits. A video of Inamdar abusing the parents had gone viral leading to widespread condemnation and protests against him in the country.