Chavan bows to Rahul wish, but gives clean chit to politicians

AdarshThe Adarsh Housing Society has been in the middle of a national storm ever since revelations of corruption.

Six days after Rahul Gandhi asked the Maharashtra government to "reconsider" its rejection of the Adarsh panel report, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan Thursday announced that the report had been accepted.

Chavan promised action against bureaucrats who were indicted by the panel for violating service rules, but said there was no evidence of criminality by the politicians whom the committee had accused of extending "political patronage" to the violations.

"The judicial commission has not found any criminal offence against the six politicians that have been named for being guilty of political patronage. After analysing the report, we found no criminality. Two then serving ministers of state who have been named had not even handled a single file in this case. Therefore no action is expected against them on behalf of the state government," Chavan said.

A senior official said the planned action announced by the chief minister was "more or less the same" as in the original draft Action Taken Report (ATR) that was to tabled in the assembly on December 20, but which was junked by the cabinet and replaced by a four-line ATR rejecting the findings of the commission.

The proposed action against the indicted officials would, however, be "minor", a senior Congress minister said. The ball was in the court of the CBI and the Congress central leadership, the minister said.

"The state will not take action in this matter. The departmental punitive action against officials will be minor in nature. Now, it is for the CBI and senior Congress leadership including Rahul Gandhi to walk the talk, if they are really serious about fighting corruption," the minister told The Indian Express.

The line taken by the government, however, implies that former chief minister Ashok Chavan, who has already been chargesheeted by the CBI for alleged quid pro quo, will continue to face the heat. The decision also, in a way, exonerates three other former chief ministers of Maharashtra, (now Home Minister) Sushil Kumar Shinde, the late Vilasrao Deshmukh and Shivajirao Nilangekar-Patil.

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