Maharashtra Opposition seeks sacking of Shiv Sena minister

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Mumbai, Aug 8 (IANS) Maharashtra’s opposition Congress-Nationalist Congress Party combine on Tuesday levelled allegations of corruption against Industries Minister Subhash Desai in denotifying lands acquired by the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation and demanded he quit.

The opposition parties disrupted the proceedings in the legislature and also squatted on the stairs of the Vidhan Bhavan demanding resignation of Desai, who is from the Shiv Sena, and Housing Minister Prakash Mehta of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

However, Desai dismissed all the charges and said that the process of denotifying the lands had been initiated during the erstwhile Congress-NCP government and he had merely “clubbed individual cases to formulate a policy”.

Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said that Desai had denotified a staggering 31,000 acres of industrial lands at the picturesque Igatpuri in Nashik to favour builders and developers without following proper procedures.

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Claiming corruption of over Rs 50,000 crore in this, he sought a probe by Enforcement Directorate, and resignations of Desai and Mehta.

The Congress leader said the denotification of the lands near Nashik was done to favour private parties despite the opposition of MIDC to the proposal.

“The Maharashtra government has denotified over 12,429 hectares land acquired by the MIDC between January 2015-March 2017. The denotification order was issues saying that the farmers have opposed acquisition. This is a new form of corruption in which land is acquired and denotified after underhand deals,” he added.

In the case of Igatpuri lands, the proposal was rejected by the previous Congress-NCP government on January 16, 2012.

“The present minister (Desai) allowed it to be handed over to one Swastik Property Ltd, which is having many realty projects in Mumbai. How can a construction company from Mumbai claim to represent farmers opposing the land acquisition?” asked Vikhe-Patil.

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Leader of Opposition in Council Dhananjay Munde said that till the two ministers were removed and probe ordered into their dealings, the opposition would not allow the house to function.

Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar demanded forming a Special Investigation Team to probe the entire matter and removal of Desai till the (probe) report was completed.

On his part, Desai justified the denotification on grounds that during the previous regime, it was done on a case by case basis, while he formulated a policy for the same, and cited examples of such denotification carried out by the Congress-NCP government between 2010-2014.

He explained that several plots of land are scattered and fragmented in such a manner that industries are not interested in buying them, necessitating the policy to denotify such pieces of land.

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