Ashok Chavan's loyal men take Congress to task
Some of the party's MLAs who are staunch supporters of the former CM raised a stink at a party meeting about the way the state government has failed to put an end to the CBI probe or protect its prominent leader
The Adarsh housing society scam took another dramatic turn yesterday when a group of Congress legislators loyal to former CM Ashok Chavan took the state Congress unit and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to task over the way the state government had conducted itself in the matter of the Adarsh probe.
The blame game seems to have divided the state’s Congress unit. The disgruntled Chavan loyalists chose a meeting at Vidhan Bhavan to give vent to their fury.
After he was chargesheeted by the CBI, Chavan had levelled the allegation that his political detractors were framing in order to do damage to his political career. Taking a cue from this, his supporter’s questioned the government’s delay in filing an affidavit against the CBI probe.
At least seven to eight of Chavan’s faithful men spoke in favour of him. They alleged that 38 MLAs and MLCs had signed a memorandum questioning the state government’s handling of the matter and its attempts to corner the former CM.
According to one of Chavan’s supporters, MLAs Sunil Kedar, Ramprasad Kadam Bordikar, Adbul Sattar, Suresh Jethlia, Ramesh Bagwe, Gopaldas Agrawal and Subhash Zanak spoke in favour of the former CM, and demanded to know what the party was doing to back him.
They also questioned the right the CBI had to conduct the probe, even after the two-member inquiry commission had, in its interim report, stated that the title of the land in question belonged to the state and was never reserved for the defense personnel.
They said that the state government, acting on the basis of the report, should have filed an affidavit earlier before the High Court, questioning the CBI inquiry.
The MLAs also challenged the right of the CBI to probe a case related to state-owned land, adding that the government should also ask the inquiry commission headed by retired Justice J A Patil to wind up its job, as there was no need to spend crores of rupees from the state kitty on the commission.
They also complained that the government had taken inordinately long to file just a two-page affidavit opposing the CBI probe.
The group has now sought an appointment with the party chief Sonia Gandhi on Thursday, where all the angst-ridden legislators — accompanied by a few local body members and party office bearers from Chavan’s hometown Nanded — would speak out in support of Chavan. This was revealed by Abdul Sattar, MLA from Sillod and staunch Chavan supporter.
Former ministers of state Vijay Vadettiwar and Ramesh Bagwe told media persons that the party has assured full support to them. State Congress unit Chief Manikrao Thakre said that the trio Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushilkumar Shinde and Ashok Chavan had contributed greatly to the party. “We are all behind them in this hour,” he is reported to have said.
CM Prithviraj Chavan is said to have clarified reasons for the delay in filing the affidavit.
Minister of State D P Sawant, MLCs Amar Rajurkar and Vijay Sawant, MLAs Hanmant Patil, Kailash Gorantyal, Raosaheb Antapurkar, Omprakash Pokarna and Madhavrao Pawar are also staunch supporters of Ashok Chavan.