Reports of underworld money in construction biz being probed: Devendra Fadnavis

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Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today stated in the Legislative Assembly here that his government was probing the intelligence inputs on the underworld money in real estate business in Mumbai.

Maharashta CM Devendra Fadnavis
Devendra Fadnavis

Maharashta CM Devendra Fadnavis
Maharashta CM Devendra Fadnavis

Replying to a debate on the law and order situation in the state, Fadnavis said that police should be given more time to crack the Govind Pansare murder case, and rejected the demand to hand it over to CBI.

Intelligence inputs about underworld funding of real estate projects in the city were being received for the last four years but the earlier government did not take any action, he alleged.

"But my government has started taking effective steps in this direction. There will not be a direct proof (of underworld funds) but it is our duty to find the evidence. The underworld connection could be in SRA (slum rehabilitation) projects. Strict action would be taken in this regard," he said.

The government will not allow anti-national elements to use the real estate business in Mumbai as a front, he said.

"If anyone gets threats from underworld dons based abroad, name of the complainant would be kept secret and action would be taken," he said, adding that three accomplices of the fugitive gangster Ravi Pujari had been arrested so far.

The Chief Minister, who handles the home department himself, said the government had also stopped political interference in the police department.

"Political interference happens when you concentrate all the powers in Mantralaya. We have delegated powers to the district level," he said.

Refuting the charge that law and order situation had deteriorated after his government came to power, Fadnavis said in the last four months the conviction rate in cases of crime against women had increased from 15 to 22 per cent, while that in other cases was 28 per cent.

"Incidence of crime had decreased and conviction rate has increased," he said. Registration of cases of crime against women had increased in the last one year because the definition of rape and molestation had been expanded, he noted.

He rejected the demand to ban the right-wing organisations such as Abhinav Bharat and Sanatan Sanstha. "The previous government had sent a proposal in this regard to the UPA government but it was rejected for lack of evidence," he said, adding "we will act against any organisation based on solid proof."

The investigation of communist leader Govind Pansare murder case was going on and it was a challenge for the police to nab the culprits. "We have to give the police time to come to a
conclusion," he added, rejecting demand of CBI probe.

A new law against social boycott will be introduced soon; the draft was ready and would be put in the public domain for suggestions, he said.

Earlier, during the discussion, Varsha Gaikwad (Congress) criticised the proposal to allow hotels, shops, etc., in some parts of Mumbai to run all night, to improve the 'nightlife'.

"Even the High Court has asked what is the guarantee of women's safety (at night). Has safety audit of areas proposed for nightlife been done?" she asked.

Chhagan Bhujbal (NCP) said both Pansare and Dr Narendra Dabholkar (whose murder in 2013 too remains unsolved) did not have personal enemies, and they were murdered by those opposed to their thoughts and ideologies.

He also expressed concern over "factionalism" among top brass of police, and asked Fadnavis to take steps to stop it. Medha Kulkarni (BJP) said the previous Congress-NCP government was to blame for deterioration of law and order and indiscipline in police force.

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