Chavan takes a U-turn, says ready for rethink

MumbaiPrithviraj Chavan

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Saturday expressed his willingness to reconsider his government's decision to reject the Adarsh commission report and pave the way for investigation against politicians and bureaucrats who have been found guilty of irregularities in the multi-storey housing project at Colaba.

"I agree with AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi that Adarsh report should be probed. We will re-open the issue in the Cabinet," Chavan told The Indian Express.

However, senior ministers from the Congress said that while the state Cabinet could accept the report, it was only the Centre that could act on it. "The action against Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde comes under the purview of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. The decision to allow or not allow former CM Ashok Chavan to contest Assembly elections also comes under AICC's purview," they said.

A senior AICC functionary said the decision on charges of political patronage against NCP ministers Sunil Tatkare and Rajesh Tope would also have to be taken by their party chief Sharad Pawar. Tatkare and Tope have been accused of providing political patronage to Adarsh housing society during their stints as the ministers of state for urban development in the past. However, NCP has rejected the charge arguing that the final authority rested with the cabinet minister for urban development, a charge held by successive chief ministers.

Of the politicians indicted in the report, former chief minister Shivajirao Nilengekar Patil is no longer an active player. Former CM Vilasrao Deshmukh is no more. This leaves with former CMs Ashok Chavan and Sushilkumar Shinde.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had placed the Adarsh Commission report along with action taken report in the state Assembly on December 20 with an opening statement in which he said, "Let us accept the report. And as far as further action is concerned, it can be discussed and taken at an appropriate time."

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