NCP minister arrested for housing scam, resigns

Jalgaon (Maharashtra), May 21 (IANS) Jalgaon Police Monday arrested Minister of State for Transport and senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Gulabrao Deokar for his alleged involvement in a 1997 housing scam for construction of 11,000 low-cost houses in this city in north Maharashtra.

Deokar was, however, released on a surety of Rs.30,000 after he was remanded to judicial custody till May 30.

Deokar is said to be involved in the scam of nearly Rs.50 crore. A member of Jalgaon Municipal Council between 1995 and 2000, he had earlier failed to turn up at the police station when summoned.

Additional Superintendent of Jalgaon Police Ishu Sindhu said a fresh summons was sent to Deokar Monday, following which he came to the police station and was then arrested.

So far, 38 people, including former housing minister and Shiv Sena legislator Suresh Jain have been arrested in this case. Jain was arrested in March.

As many as 25 former corporators were also arrested Saturday. Of these 15 were granted bail, while the rest were remanded in police custody.

Police said that the tenders for construction of the low-cost housing were floated by the Jalgaon Municipal Council in 1997. However, the tender conditions were altered to ensure that Khandesh Builders, a front company of Jain, secured the contract.

The project never took off, but massive funds were allegedly given to Khandesh Builders.

After getting specific complaints, the then chief executive officer of Jalgaon Municipal Council lodged a first information report on Feb 3, 2006.

The probe gathered momentum after Sindhu took charge last year.

Meanwhile, Deokar tendered his resignation from the post of state transport minister to state party chief Madhukar Pichad who said that the party will take a call on accepting the resignation after the police and judicial investigation is complete. 

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