At a time when Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is building BJP’s campaign for civic polls on a transparency plank and his clean image, Shiv Sena on Wednesday claimed he was indicted by a probe panel for “corruption” during his stint as Nagpur mayor in 2001. The BJP, however, has countered the charge, saying the Bombay High Court and even the Supreme Court had not found any substance in the matter and that the allegations were part of a “tacit understanding” between Shiv Sena and Congress.
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Addressing reporters here, Sena MLC Anil Parab claimed various contracts were awarded to specific contractors only by “circumventing” the Standing Committee of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) during Fadnavis’ Mayoral stint in 1997-2001.
Parab said though the Chief Minister was urging voters to vote for the BJP in his name, there was a “massive corruption” during his tenure as the mayor.
“The government-appointed Nand Lal committee had submitted its report on February 27, 2001. The report contains proofs of irregularities committed by then NMC mayor and current Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis,” Parab claimed.
He claimed that when Fadnavis was the mayor, some members of the standing committee “negotiated with contractors directly”.
“Contracts were awarded to select contractors without inviting tenders… Corruption took place during the tenures of four former mayors namely Rajiv Gholar, Kalpana Pandey, Vasundhara Masurkar and Devendra Fadnavis,” the Sena leader said.
He said criminal cases were filed against 99 corporators and the four mayors after the probe. “During the scam period, no meeting of the standing committee was held for 15 months,” he said.
In September 2001, the then Congress-NCP government had dissolved the NMC, then led by the BJP-Lok Manch coalition, and disqualified all the 119 corporators after the Nand Lal committee exposed the corruption.
Sena’s attack came at a time when the campaigning for the civic polls, including the high-stake Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), is drawing to close.
Ten municipal corporations, including BMC, are going to polls on February 21 and counting of votes is scheduled two days after. Sena and BJP, who are alliance partners in state and central governments, are contesting separately.
During canvassing, Fadnavis has been claiming Sena decided to go solo as the BJP’s push for “transparent administration” was not acceptable to the Uddhav Thackeray-led party. However, Sena’s contention is that a disagreement over allocation of seats for BMC polls led to the break-up of alliance.
Meanwhile, taking a dig at CM for his remarks that Sena has brought Mumbai at par with Patna, Sena MP Sanjay Raut said the number of criminal incidents being reported in Fadnvais’ hometown Nagpur is more than in the Bihar capital.