A day after an inquiry was ordered to probe corruption charges against him, Sena leader and industries minister Subhash Desai offered to quit on Saturday.
However, CM Devendra Fadnavis rejected the offer and asked Desai to continue, telling him that there was no reason for him to quit because the charges were baseless and politically motivated.
In a way, the CM also deflected a demand for a BJP minister Prakash Mehta's resignation by supporting Desai. Mehta, too, faces corruption charges and had approached the CM to resign before Desai. The Opposition is demanding for his resignation as well. But the BJP doesn't want the minister to go because it would mean a defeat at the hands of the Opposition, which too was tainted in the past.
Desai's party leader Uddhav Thackeray told the media that he had sent Desai to Fadnavis for handing over the resignation in view of the pains he was going through because of the charges.
"Desai told me that he wanted to stay away till the inquiry is over. But the CM rejected his resignation and told me that the allegations were baseless. The CM said to me that the people in Opposition feared action in corruption charges that are levelled against them and now trying to be aggressive just to save their skin," said Thackeray.
Desai said he would cooperate with the people who will probe him. CM Devendra Fadnavis announced this on the last day of the Monsoon session. Desai, a Sena leader, is accused of returning land that was notified for industries to farmers who actually have already sold their land to builders. The Opposition alleged that the land was returned to builders for commercial exploitation.
Mehta is accused of illegally transferring FSI of an SRA project to PAP project and faces charged of nepotism, quid pro quo and irregularities in housing sector controlled by his department.
The most important charge that Mehta is fighting is that he had kept the CM in the dark while transferring FSI to a particular builder. The minister had admitted to this irregularity.
It's farcical, says Opposition
Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant slammed the BJP and Sena for being farcical when it came to corruption. "By rejecting Desai's resignation, the CM has sent morality to toss. The same government has applied different parameters to Desai and Mehta and Eknath Khadse, who was sacked pending inquiry," said Sawant.
He said Desai's resignation was a decision of Shiv Sena, but if accepted the CM would be forced to sack his own minister as well. "This shows the government is not uniform in its approach to checking corruption. The Sena too has shown its true colours by withdrawing the resignation," said Sawant.
NCP's Opposition leader in legislative Council Dhananjay Munde said the government had a double standard. "Probe cannot be independent and impartial when the tainted ministers remain in office," said Munde, asking for the resignations at any cost.
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