Nagpur: Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, on Thursday, stood up to the Opposition attack over the controversial Navi Mumbai CIDCO land deal and virtually turned the tables on them, amid demands for his resignation by Congress leaders, including Opposition Leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and Prithviraj Chavan.
He announced a judicial probe, without specifying the terms and references of the said probe, including some 200 such land deals cleared in previous regimes.
Since the morning on the second day of the Monsoon Session of the state legislature, the Lower House witnessed noisy scenes with four adjournments as the one-hour Question Hour was completely washed out barring three questions taken up technically.
The Oppostion benches were on their feet demanding the suspension of Question Hour. They demanded that the House take up an adjournment motion on the land deal. After three adjournments when the House assembled, calm prevailed and Vikhe-Patil launched an offensive against Fadnavis, accusing him of being party to the shoddy land deal, which was mainly to benefit Mumbai builders.
He was joined by Prithiviraj Chavan, who claimed that he had already addressed a press conference on the issue, and said that without the knowledge of the concerned urban development minister and chief minister, the deal was not possible. Mr Fadnavis, equipped with facts and figures, countered the attack and also pointed fingers at Mr Chavan, citing some of the deals made under him. “Was the file cleared by you (Chavan)?” he asked as silence prevailed in the Opposition benches. He said that there was no truth in the allegations.
Fadnavis informed the House that about 606 hectares of land for project-affected persons (PAPs) were cleared previously, including during the tenure of Prithiviraj Chavan.
All the powers of allotment of land for PAPs were entrusted with the additional collector, as per government and HC directives. Quoting a Supreme Court ruling, Fadnavis said that in one case MIDC wanted a plot of land but the apex court did not allow the transfer of the land for PAPs to MIDC, contending that the first right and the rightful owner is PAP. The maximum price of the land allotted in the said land deal was to the tune of `233 crore, according to the ready reckoner. Fadnavis further cornered the Opposition, stating that if a probe is conducted it should be against all former chief ministers of state, including Ashok Chavan, Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushil Kumar Shinde.