Adarsh report: Chavan gave in as Cong, NCP backed indicted ministers

With both Congress and NCP holding a closed-door meetings of their ministers just before the Cabinet meet on Thursday and deciding to back their colleagues indicted in the Adarsh probe panel's report, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had little choice in absolving the politicians of any wrongdoing in connection with the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society.

During their meeting, all NCP ministers rallied behind Water Resources Minister Sunil Tatkare and Higher and Technical Education Minister Rajesh Tope, who were named in the report by the two-member judicial commission that probed alleged irregularities in the housing society. "We have not handled any file nor given any observations. Just convening a meeting cannot be a crime," Tatkare and Tope reportedly said during the meeting.

Congress ministers too showed an equal zeal during their meeting in defending their colleagues named in the report. "At the beginning of the meeting, I asked what was there to discuss. The Adarsh commission has not held any of our former chief ministers on a criminal charge. The commission has merely accused them of political patronage. Now, what amounts to political patronage," a senior Cabinet minister told The Indian Express.

The ministers were of the view that former CM (late) Vilasrao Deshmukh had clarified that he used his discretionary powers, which could not be challenged. They also said that charges against former CM Sushilkumar Shinde could not be justified and that the CBI had already submitted its report to the government of India when he was made the Union Home Minister.

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