Pawar backs Bhujbal, says NCP will fight legally

New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday backed party colleague Chhagan Bhujbal, arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in corruption cases, asserting that the party would deal with the issue legally.

Bhujbal was arrested on Monday evening in connection with a case related to construction of Maharashtra Sadan in the national capital.

“I am confident that we will fight it through legal action and we are hopeful that appropriate decision will be there,” the Nationalist Congress Party chief told reporters outside parliament.

“There was a piece of land in Mumbai which was enclosed and that land was allotted to the company which constructed this Maharashtra Sadan. This decision was not taken by Mr. Bhujbal alone.

“In Maharashtra, there is a committee headed by the chief minister where the major construction projects, including infrastructure, are approved and cleared by that cabinet committee,” Pawar said, asserting that Bhujbal had to take steps for implementation of the decision since he was the minister.

“What is the allegation? Allegation is (related to) Maharashtra Sadan’s construction in Delhi where some illegal thing has been done and sizeable money has been lost by the state,” he said.

“Maharashtra government did not spend a single penny in the construction of Maharashtra Sadan.”

“… that cabinet committee cleared the allocation of the piece of land to that company. In lieu of that, the company was supposed to construct the Maharashtra Sadan. Secondly, the state guest house in Mumbai and another building…,” Pawar said.

“So, all these things without spending a single penny from the government treasury, just the land that was enclosed by certain people has been exhibited and anybody who will visit the new Maharashtra Sadan, I am sure that he will come to conclusion that this is one of the best Sadans which has been constructed by any state government,” he added.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday flatly rejected allegations made by some NCP leaders of pursuing “vendetta politics”.

Making a statement in the legislative assembly, Fadnavis said Bhujbal was arrested on the basis of evidence found in the ED investigation against him.

“This is not a case of revenge politics. We will not extend any help in hiding scams and scamsters will be punished,” the chief minister said.

Bhujbal’s arrest sparked demonstrations, protests and road-blocks across Maharashtra with thousands of people taking to the streets in the NCP stalwart’s support, who is also a prominent backward caste leader.

The main opposition parties, Congress and NCP on Tuesday staged protests on the stairs of the legislature and many leaders condemned Bhujbal’s arrest.

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