Maharashtra: ACB probes complaint against MoS for Home

The complaint alleges, among other things, that the Minister of State for Home (Urban) Ranjit Patil holds disproportionate assets; ACB chief says complaint will be verified before initiating any probe

Minister of State for Home (Urban) Dr Ranjit Patil finds himself in an embarrassing position as the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has taken note of a complaint lodged against him. The ACB headquarters has asked its local unit in Akola, Patil’s home district, to probe the veracity of the complaint.

Sources said the complaint alleges, among several other things, that the minister a reputed orthopaedic surgeon in Akola holds disproportionate assets. ACB chief (DGP) Praveen Dixit confirmed to mid-day yesterday that the complaint had been received by his office and it had been forwarded to the Akola unit.

“The application (complaint) will be verified first. It’s part of our standard operating procedure,” he said. The DGP did not part with further details such as the name of the complainant. He, however, denied that a discreet inquiry was being conducted against the minister. “We need to know certain things before starting any probe,” he said.

Sources said an open inquiry is conducted against any person after the ACB finds substance in the discreet inquiry. In cases involving ministers, legislators and government officials, the ACB needs permission from the home department and the CM’s office to conduct an open inquiry.

‘Open to inquiry’
Patil told mid-day that he was open to any kind of inquiry. “If it is a discreet inquiry, then I would not know about it. In fact, the ACB has not told me about it, and I’m extremely happy that the DGP has followed the proper procedure. This shows that even a minister of state for home is not spared by the BJP government,” he said.

Patil said a complaint regarding his election was sent to the Election Commission of India earlier this year, but it was rejected because the prescribed time for filing such complaints had expired by then. “The persons concerned were asked (by the EC) to move the court against me.

I don’t know whether they have taken me to the court,” he said, blaming local politics for all the complaints against him. Patil was elected to the upper house from the Amravati graduates’ constituency. Last December, he was preferred over many senior legislators from the region for the MoS post.

In addition to home (urban), he is minister of state for important departments such as urban development, law and judiciary, general administration and parliamentary affairs.

CM speak
CM Devendra Fadnavis made a statement to this effect in the legislature yesterday. He said the complaint was forwarded for verification under the due process (carried out by the ACB). Fadnavis told mid-day that the incident was proof of the transparent manner in which his government has been functioning. “We treat everyone in the same manner. There will be no interference in the functioning of ACB.”

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