The Opposition parties in the state have raised questions over Speaker Dilip Walse Patil’s recent refusal to give the police sanction to prosecute Congress MLA and former Mumbai Congress chief Kripashankar Singh in a disproportionate assets case and have requested him to reconsider his decision.
“The Speaker’s decision to shield Singh is like shielding corruption. Let the courts decide if Singh is guilty or not,” said Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Vinod Tawde, who belongs to the BJP.
Singh’s troubles began in 2010 when social activist Sanjay Tiwari approached the Anti-Corruption Bureau and subsequently filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court, calling for action against Singh for having disproportionate assets. Tiwari had listed 15 of Singh’s properties whose information he had procured through the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Among them were a bungalow and a triplex flat in Bandra, besides other properties in Mumbai’s upscale localities.
On the directions of the court, a special investigating team (SIT) headed by former Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh was constituted. In December 2013, the SIT requested the Speaker for sanction to prosecute Singh, since he is an MLA. The Speaker, however, decided this month not to give his sanction.
While the BJP was severely critical of the Speaker’s decision to withhold the sanction, the Shiv Sena was guarded in its response. “This issue has once again brought to the fore the need for police reforms in the state. It takes ages to move against those who are corrupt. There is a serious need to overhaul the system, which would give the police a free hand in nailing the corrupt,” Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said.
State Congress chief Manikrao Thakre, meanwhile, claimed all allegations against Singh were politically motivated and the Speaker had taken into consideration all aspects of the law before taking the decision.