Fadnavis orders inquiry against state Housing Minister
Maharashtra housing minister Prakash Mehta faces allegation of wrongdoing and irregularities in Slum Redevelopment Authority (SRA) project in MP Mills compound in Tardeo for which Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, on Monday, has announced probe and a detailed inquiry.
After the opposition cornered the government over the irregularity, which could have allegedly resulted in the windfall of Rs500 crore-Rs800 crore to the builder and demanded Mehta’s resignation, Fadnavis ordered an inquiry.
Fadnavis said that Mehta did not inform him and sanctioned the changes while wrongly mentioning in the project file that he had kept the CM in the loop. Adding that the minister did this unintentionally and he was announcing the probe to clear the air, Fadnavis said the modalities of the probe and terms of references would be decided by taking opposition leaders and group leaders into confidence. “The note on the file about having informed me was an unintentional mistake by the minister. Though he directed the transfer of the building rights, there was no final decision taken and the builder has not benefitted as has been alleged,” said the CM.
The MP Mills compound project, which was sanctioned in 1996, saw a residential tower and tenements for 2,334 slum dwellers. However, after the state tweaked its rules and allowed bigger homes of 269 sq ft instead of 225 sq ft in 2009, the builder sought to transfer the rights accrued out of the additional FSI elsewhere. Though the SRA rules do not allow such transfer, the minister moved the file.
While speaking in the legislative assembly, Mehta said his note about informing the CM was a result of a misunderstanding. He said he mistook other files discussed with the CM for this particular file. Mehta said, “Use of the 44 sq ft of allowed additional area per flat was under consideration. Not a single inch of additional FSI allowed to the project is in question.”
However, Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan and NCP leader Jayant Patil cornered the government saying it was against the much touted doctrine of transparency by the government and demanded a judicial commission should be formed by the government to probe the allegations against the housing minister.