June 6, 2012 2:49:16 am
On trial while a minister,a first in state
While the state Congress is still recovering from the battering its image took following a series of scams involving top leaders,it is now the turn of NCP minister of state Gulabrao Deokar to be put in the dock for his alleged role in a Rs 29-crore scam in Jalgaon in 1997. Deokar was arrested last month and released on bail. The case pertains to alleged irregularities in a low-cost housing scheme when he was president of the Jalgaon municipal council. While a supplementary chargesheet names Deokar,senior NCP leaders maintained that as there are no charges of personal benefit against him,the party would not accept the resignation letter he wrote before the arrest. That makes him the first Maharashtra minister ever to face trial while in office.
Shooting farther ahead
THE Shiv Senas tiger didnt roar much during the NDAs bandh last week,but the party chiefs estranged nephew and animal lover Raj Thackeray lent his might to protecting the tiger. Having landed in the Tadoba reserve in Vidarbha the same day as Forest Minister Patangrao Kadam,he made sure he went one step further than the latters shoot-at-sight orders against poachers. On returning to Nagpur,the MNS chief announced a Rs-5-lakh reward on behalf of the party to anybody gunning down a poacher,and Rs 2 lakh for useful information and tip-offs about poaching activity. The Congress,which criticised Raj for his armchair advice to partymen on dealing with drought,has been silent this time.
ANOTHER offer of a reward,Rs 5 lakh,came from Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan himself,for any information about two female foetuses found in Beed district. Beed,with the worst sex ratio of 801 females per 1,000 as per the 2011 Census,was in the news through the past weeks following the death of a woman during an alleged drug-induced delivery of a female foetus or abortion in a Beed hospital. With news that another female foetus was found in the Udgir taluka of nearby Latur,the state machinery is considering a slew of measures targeted especially at Beed district. Among these are a rethink on how to curb the availability of over-the-counter abortion pills,listing all sonography machines and keeping a check on all pregnant women in Beed and those travelling there.
Pawar under Sena fire
UNION Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar,who appears to be making a point to the Congress high command about his preference for who should be chief minister by repeatedly chastising Prithviraj Chavan in public,found himself rebuked by Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray,with whom he is known to have a personal friendship. In a Mumbai meeting of the NCP,Pawar told reporters that the government had failed to keep Maharashtra attractive for investments by major industries. His sharp words came not long after his caustic remarks about the chief minister breaking bread with farmers in a drought-hit village. To everybodys surprise,Saamna took on Pawar in an editorial,asking why Pawar wanted to continue sharing power with the Congress if he felt the leadership was ineffective. In addition,the Saamna editorial asked,Is it the state hes concerned for or the industrialists?
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