March 31, 2015 3:31:09 am
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and Mumbai Mayor Snehal Ambekar of the Shiv Sena were locked in a dramatic battle on Monday with the MNS releasing an audio clip alleging that Ambekar had involved contractors in the process of earmarking funds from the Mayor’s Development Fund for the financial year 2015-16. Ambekar responded by the end of the day with a complaint letter to the police against the MNS.
Narendra Singh, senior police inspector of Azad Maidan Police station, said, “We have received a complaint from the mayor and we have also recorded her statement. We will be seeking legal opinion on the case. We have not heard the audio clip yet.”
In the audio clip, a voice purported to be Ambekar’s is heard telling MNS group leader Sandeep Deshpande that contractors have made requests regarding allocation of funds.
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Deshpande said, “It is clear that the mayor is involving contractors to earmark funds for the development of this city.”
While Ambekar remained unavailable despite repeated attempts, senior Shiv Sena corporator Trushna Vishwasrao, who is also leader of the house in the BMC, said, “The mayor has been targeted because of internal dispute and politics in the BMC.
We condemn the MNS to have tapped a woman’s phone, that too of the distinguished mayor, the first citizen of the city. It is completely wrong. We will try and initiate action against the MNS.”
Ambekar has been criticised in recent days by various parties for uneven distribution of funds in the recently presented budget estimates of the BMC for 2015-16. “Ideally, the funds are allocated after considering the corporators’ requests. But here, mayor has allocated funds even without receiving an official letter from the corporators. This only indicates huge corruption in the system,” said another MNS corporator.
The party also filed a complaint with the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) last week, demanding an investigation into the allocation of funds. Praveen Dixit, director general of the ACB said, “We have asked for details of the case. Deshpande will furnish it tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, Devendra Amberkar, opposition leader in the BMC, also demanded Ambekar’s immediate resignation after the MNS levelled its allegations. Amberkar said, “The mayor’s post is a highly distinguished one. By doing this, the mayor has not only insulted the dignity of the post but also demeaned a municipal councillor’s image in front of Mumbaikars. We demand an immediate resignation.”
In a letter addressed to the Azad Nagar Police station, Ambekar stated that the audio clip was edited by Deshpande. The letter reads, “By editing the audio clip to make it sound against me and making a political talk public, Deshpande has insulted the mayor’s post and that too a mayor who is a woman.
This is an insult to the city as a whole.” She has further stated that Deshpande released the audio clip because he was angry for not having allocated the funds that MNS had demanded.
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