Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan today offered his resignation to Congress president Sonia Gandhi who subsequently asked Defence Minister and party in charge of the state A K Antony and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to look into the alleged scam involving allotment of flats to Chavans relatives in Adarsh Housing Society in Cuffe Parade in Mumbai.
The Congress High Command will take a call on the Chief Ministers resignation on the basis of their recommendations. Summoned by the Congress president on Saturday,the Chief Minister sought to justify the allotment of flats to his relatives stating that while his father-in-law and brother-in-law were in the Army,his sister-in-law was a government servant and was employed in the LIC,sources close to the CM told The Sunday Express.
Congress sources in New Delhi,however,pointed out that the building was said to be meant for Kargil heroes and widows and Gandhi is very sensitive about anything concerning them. But no decision has been taken this way or that way. The Congress President will decide only after hearing the views of Antony and Mukherjee, said sources. There is also apprehension in the party that if it were to accept Chavans resignation,the Opposition BJP might raise the bar to target former Chief Ministers and present Union Ministers Sushil Kumar Shinde and Vilasrao Deshmukh. Congress sources,however,pointed out that while one former CM had cleared the letter of intent,another had given the final sanction,but,unlike Chavan,none of their relatives is involved. Besides,many Opposition leaders also own flats in the same society. They have no moral right to talk about this issue, said Congress sources.
Emerging from the meeting with Sonia Gandhi today,Chavan said that he had given his resignation letter to her. I have given all the details to the party high command. I have told her to see and it is up to her now. Investigations are on. CBI will investigate the matter. After the investigation,it will be clear about the land ownership, he said.
Congress General Secretary and media department chairman Janardan Dwivedi said that the Congress President has asked Mukherjee and Antony to submit a report on the issue and any decision will be taken only after receiving the same. Any further development on the issue would take place only after their report, he said.
Although Mukherjee and Antony have not been given any time frame,they are likely to submit their report shortly,said sources. Sources also added that the party leadership was anyway not happy with the performance and functioning of Ashok Chavan.
Adarsh,a 31-storey building in the upmarket South Mumbai area,has been caught in a string of allegations following reports that it was built disregarding laws and objections from the Navy,which has several military installations nearby. The Indian Express,in 2003,had first reported that senior military officers,including former chiefs,politicians and bureaucrats got apartments in the building.
This week,it was also found that Chavans late mother-in-law,his brother-in-law and sister-in-law were among the 102 members of Adarsh and it was alleged that clearances for the society were given when Chavan was Revenue Minister in 2000. Chavan has,however,denied any wrongdoing and mounted a strong defence of himself at a press conference in Mumbai. Announcing that he had asked the government to revoke the Occupation Certificates issued to Adarsh,pending clearances from the Union Environment Ministry,Chavan had said that he or his relatives did not have any role in the formation of the society or in procuring land for it.