Congress accuses Devendra Fadnavis of nepotism; says he favoured a pvt bank

Nagpur: Accusing Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis of indulging in nepotism, Congress today questioned Maharashtra government's move to make beneficiaries of Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) scheme and slum developers open bank accounts in a private sector bank, where his wife works in a senior position.

Addressing a press meet here, former Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Manikrao Thakre alleged that the SRA, headed by the Chief Minister, was giving business to the bank as the CM's wife was associated with it.

"The Chief Minister has flouted prescribed norms by choosing Axis Bank, a private lender, and not a scheduled or a nationalised bank for the government scheme," he said.

Amruta Fadnavis works as a Deputy Vice President (Transactional Banking) of Axis Bank and is positioned as its central officer in Worli in south Mumbai.

"The SRA is under the Chief Minister and it is surprising to note that why only one branch of Axis Bank at Worli (in Mumbai) was chosen by the department," Thakre said. All the SRA account holders, right from Thane to Mumbai, have been asked to operate from Worli branch of Axis bank.

There are about 1,200 builders engaged in the SRA work and every individual (beneficiary) deposits in the range of Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 per month, Thakre said.

"This is a clear case of nepotism and corruption," he alleged.

Meanwhile, BJP rubbished Congress's claims, saying Fadnavis does not oversee the day-to-day functioning of SRA and, therefore, has no relation with Axis Bank opening of beneficiaries' bank under the scheme.

"The SRA works independently and the CM does not oversee its day-to-day activities and thus cannot favour his wife for opening of beneficiaries' under the scheme," BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari told PTI.

The previous Congress government had also issued orders for working with this bank, the BJP leader said, adding, there was nothing new in this.

"If the government has decided to work with the bank, it is because of its working style. Neither the CM nor his wife has any relation with the issuance of the Government Resolution (GR)," he said.

When contacted, a spokesperson of Axis Bank said, "The bank has always been one of the leading players in this area with long-standing relationships with several central and state government departments, including those in Maharashtra."

"Enhanced customer experience, superior technology and competitive pricing have been the key drivers for us in securing government business over the years," the bank official added.

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