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Monday, December 06, 2021

A R Antulay: A tough administrator and decision maker

A R Antulay was born in a village Ambet, in Raigad district in Konkan region of Maharashtra.

Written by Shubhangi Khapre | Mumbai |
December 2, 2014 3:03:03 pm

Abdul Rehman Antulay (85) was the first chief minister who had to battle a prolonged court case following the infamous cement scandal that lead to his exit from the most coveted post and also marked the decline of his political career in Maharashtra.

Antulay, who became the first Muslim chief minister of Maharashtra, ruled between June 9, 1980 and January 12, 1982. But in the short time span, he left a mark as a decision maker whom bureaucrats feared and process of decision making was immediately delivered. Antulay held complete control in Mantralaya.

Antulay, who was known for his outspoken nature, was a loyal Congress leader. He was handpicked by Indira Gandhi to lead Maharashtra, but got embroiled into a controversy. The Bombay High Court ruled that he had illegally acquired Mumbai area builders to make donations to Indira Gandhi Pratishthan trust, one of several trust funds he had established and controlled in exchange for receiving more cement than the quota allocated to them by the government.

Antulay fought the legal battle for over a decade, even took up the matter to Supreme Court. And after a prolonged legal battle, he was let out following lack of evidence to find him guilty. But by then, his political career in Maharashtra almost came to an end. And he had shifted to Delhi as a Lok Sabha member.

Antulay was born in a village Ambet, in Raigad district in Konkan region of Maharashtra. His struggle to stage a comeback continued and he was the Congress’ minorities face in Maharashtra.

In the 14th Lok Sabha, he was inducted in the Union Cabinet as the Minister for Minorities Affairs. Antulay, who represented the Raigad Lok Sabha constituency as a Congress MP, was defeated by Shiv Sena’s Ananth Gite.

An extremely jovial but blunt speaker, Antulay completed his graduation at Bombay University. He studied Barrister-At-Law at Lincoln’s Inn, London. He was married to Nargis and has a son and a daughter. His son Mushtaq is also a Congress leader.

In 1962, Antulay stepped into electoral politics as a member of the state legislative assembly. He served in the assembly as an MLA contesting successive elections between 1962 and 1976.

He was the minister of state for law and judiciary, ports and fisheries. In 1969 to 1976, he held the portfolios of minister of housing. He served as a member of the Rajya Sabha (MP) between 1876-80.

In June 1995-1996, he was made the Union minister for health and family welfare and additional charge of water resources.

After the November 26, 2008 terror attack in Mumbai, he sparked a national controversy saying top anti-terorrist squad chief Hemant Karkare may have become the victim following his investigation in the 2006 Malegaon blasts.

Later, he told Parliament he was not talking about who killed Karkare. But that Karkakare might have been sent in wrong directions. The Congress had distanced itself from his statements.

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