The Opposition in Maharashtra has demanded Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s resignation, accusing him of adopting corrupt practices when he was a minister in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
The Opposition leaders, including Ajit Pawar, Congress leaders Nana Patole, Prithiviraj Chavan, Balasaheb Thorat, Shiv Sena (UBT) legislator Aaditya Thackrey, staged a protest on the Assembly complex on Tuesday, accusing Shinde of being corrupt and allotting land meant for slum dwellers to private persons, during his tenure as the Urban Development Minister in the Uddhav Thackeray Cabinet.
The legislative council proceedings had to be adjourned for the day uproar over the matter. However, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis clarified that his government does not give costly plots at lower rates to anyone.
Amicus curie (appointed by court to assist) advocate Anand Parchure on December 14 informed the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court that Shinde, as a minister in the MVA government, had directed the Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) to give away land acquired for housing scheme for slum dwellers to 16 private individuals.
Posting the matter for hearing on January 4, 2023, the court said, “If any such order as claimed is really passed then we would direct the authorities to maintain status quo till the next date.”
The court said that since 2004, it was monitoring the land allotments made by the NIT to politicians and other influential people.
The case was heard after Nagpur-based social activist Anil Wadpalliwar filed a petition, alleging that the NIT gave away land to politicians and influential people others at throwaway rates.
Leader of Opposition Ambadas Danve said that the NIT had reserved a plot 4.5 acres in Mumbai for the rehabilitation of slum dwellers. “However, former urban development minister Eknath Shinde, who is now the chief minister of the state, had issued an order to hand over the land parcel to 16 persons at the cost of Rs 1.5 crore. The current ready reckoner rates calculate the cost of the land to be Rs 83 crore,” he alleged.
“It is very serious matter. The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court had already put a stay on the handover of the land and the case was going on. Despite that, Shinde as the urban development minister took the decision to hand over the land, which is a serious interference in the court’s work,” said Danve, who is part of the Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT).
BJP leader Chandrakant Patil slammed the protest. He said the pposition should not have raised the issue during the question hour. They could have raised this at some other time,” he said.