Updated: March 15, 2021 12:01:29 am
Leader of Opposition and former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis’s access to call data records, from which he reeled out in the Assembly dates on which Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze and the murdered Mansukh Hiren spoke with each other on the phone last year, has aroused much curiosity and several guesses about the source of this information to which only law enforcers obtain access in the course of an investigation. Guesses ranged from an anti-Vaze “rival gang” in the Mumbai Police, to several state and central anti-terror agencies probing the matter. Fadnavis fuelled the curiosity even more by telling a journalist that he could not share the CDRs as that would compromise his “asset”.
In an unexpected development, Rupesh Agarwal, Joint Director (Investigation) at the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), has been repatriated to the Income Tax department within 16 months of his posting at SFIO. Agarwal, a 2008-batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer, was earlier the general manager of state-run Maharashtra Information Technology Corporation. At SFIO, Agarwal was probing several high-profile cases including the fraud at Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd (DHFL), Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL) and the loan default by Reid and Taylor India.
Matter of Words
Shiv Sena old-timers who were sidelined after the party joined hands with the Congress and NCP have been raising prickly issues. One of the most vocal is former minister Diwakar Raote, who criticised the MVA government and its ministers for “neglect” of the Marathi language and “over-reliance” on usage of English words during Assembly proceedings. Raote also put up a private member’s Bill demanding that the national song Vande Mataram be sung compulsorily before the start of all government programmes.
Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar is quick on the draw when it comes to announcing decisions that the state government is planning to take. It therefore came as a surprise when he publicly claimed he was not aware of the decision of his own department to write to the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) to postpone its exam schedule. As protests erupted in various parts of the state, Waddettiwar threw his officials under the bus, declaring the decision was taken by bureaucrats without his consent while he was recuperating in a hospital after being infected by Covid-19.
Home Minister Anil Deshmukh’s attempt to target the BJP and claim how good the law and order situation in the state was saw him pointing to the suicide of Mohan Delkar as well as an IAS official from Madhya Pradesh, stating that both had taken their lives in Maharashtra because they were not confident of getting justice in their BJP-ruled states. He was left red-faced and had to set the record straight when Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis pointed out that the IAS officer was from Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh.
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