Maharashtra’s Lokayukta Act does not permit the Lokayukta to probe the chief minister.
Mumbai: While governor C. Vidyasagar Rao has asked the Lokayukta to investigate the permissions granted by state housing minister Prakash Mehta for a Slum Rehabilitation Scheme, the permission did not make it clear whether the Lokayukta would seek clarifications from, or question, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis as part of the investigation. Maharashtra’s Lokayukta Act does not permit the Lokayukta to probe the chief minister.
Mr Mehta had allegedly written a note while clearing a proposal of granting extra floor space index (FSI) to a builder in MP Mill Compound in Tardeo that, he had “consulted with CM Fadnavis before giving permission.” The Opposition had raised questions over the role of Mr Fadnavis in this issue.
On the same controversial file while clearing the proposal for extra FSI, Mr Mehta has mentioned that he had “informed chief minister Fadnavis about the decision.”
Later while clarifying the issue in the Assembly, Mr Mehta owned up to the mistake saying there was confusion about the said noting. “There were 22 files supposed to be taken to CM for consultation. That day, the MP Mill compound file was left in the office and the other 21 files were taken to CM. But, over confusion, I noted the same. In reality, CM was not informed about the decision,” Mr Mehta had said.
To find the exact details, opposition had demanded a probe by a sitting or former judge under the Commission of Inquiry Act, which would have had the powers to call the chief minister for questioning. However, Mr Fadnavis announced a Lokayukta probe.
Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant had later alleged that the state government opted for a Lokayukta probe in order to save Mr Fadnavis. Though Mr Fadnavis is not required to send the Lokayukta a written explanation, it remains to be seen if he will do the same.