Maha announces panel to probe charges against Sena minister

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government today formed a one-member committee comprising former additional chief secretary (home) K P Bakshi to probe charges of illegal denotification of MIDC land against industries minister Subhash Desai.

Senioe Shiv Sena minister Desai has been accused of denotifying plots acquired in Nashik for the benefit of builders.

A Government Resolution (GR) issued today said a one- member committee is being appointed to probe allegations levelled against Desai by opposition legislators during the monsoon session of state legislature which concluded last month.

“Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had assured members of both the Houses to probe charges against the minister. This issue was under consideration of the government. Accordingly, a one-member committee, comprising Bakshi is being formed,” the GR said.

The panel will probe if norms were followed while denotifying the land, the GR said, adding that it will also check if there was a conflict of interest in the denotification decision.

During the session, leader of opposition in Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde had alleged that Desai had de-notified a 400 acre acquired land near Igatpuri in Nashik district belonging to the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) with a view to facilitate a private developer to the tune of thousands of crores of rupees.

Munde had claimed that Desai had de-notified about seven per cent of the acquired land by the MIDC and sought a judicial probe into the issue. The NCP leader had also claimed that around 400 acres of land acquired by MIDC was given to a developer close to Sena.

Bakshi, who retired on November 30, 2016, currently heads the State Water Regulatory Authority.

Munde said conducting an independent inquiry is not possible unless the minister is sacked.

“The minister is in a position to influence the inquiry. How will his department officials give proofs against the minister until he is removed from his post? The minister will never let a fair inquiry be conducted,” he said in a statement.

He further said that “the BJP slogan of zero tolerance against corruption is only a farce and in reality, the party supports wrong doings in the government.”

Munde also demanded that all the decisions taken by Desai to denotify lands should be probed instead of conducting an inquiry only of land in Gondedumala and Wadiware in Igatpuri taluk of Nashik district.

“From January 1, 2015 in Desai’s tenure, 12,421 hectares land has been denotified. An inquiry should be conducted into all of these,” added the NCP leader.