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  Metros   Mumbai  25 Sep 2018  Lokayukta not to quiz Fadnavis in Mehta case

Lokayukta not to quiz Fadnavis in Mehta case

THE ASIAN AGE. | UMAKANT DESHPANDE
Published : Sep 25, 2018, 3:47 am IST
Updated : Sep 25, 2018, 3:47 am IST

Fadnavis had announced the Lokayukta probe against Mr Mehta on August 11, 2017.

Devendra Fadnavis
 Devendra Fadnavis

Mumbai: Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis will not be called by the Lokayukta for deposition or asked for an explanation about the remarks made by housing minister Prakash Mehta as the government has not given powers to the Lokayukta to quiz the chief minister.

Although Mr Fadnavis announced that the government would empower Lokayukta Justice M.L. Tahaliyani to record his evidence, the Lokayukta may not call him as it is outside his jurisdiction. The Lokayukta will conclude recording evidence in the MP mill compound case this week in which minister Mehta will be under the scanner.

Mr Fadnavis had announced the Lokayukta probe against Mr Mehta on August 11, 2017. Mr Mehta has been accused by the Opposition of impropriety in a slum rehabilitation project in the city.

Mr Mehta has been facing the heat ever since he allegedly allowed “unauthorised” transfer of extra building rights in the SRA (Slum Rehabilitation Authority) project awarded to the builder at MP mill compound, south Mumbai, originally granted to slum dwellers.

Mr Fadnavis in the legislature said, “All permissions for construction on this particular land were given between 1999 and 2004. As per the property card, that land is owned by the defence ministry.”

Mr Mehta had wrongly mentioned in the project file that he kept the chief minister in the loop about the transfer, which was denied by Mr Fadnavis. The governor ordered an investigation under sub-section (3) of section 17 of the Maharashtra Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayukta Act, 1971, on September 21, 2017.

The opposition raised the legal point that the chief minister did not come under the purview of the Lokayukta as per the act. But Mr Fadnavis made it clear that the government would empower the Lokayukta to carry out a probe against him. Now, the Lokayukta has almost finished recording of the evidence in the past few months and only one witness remains to depose which will be completed this week.

Mr Mehta called the concerned developer as a witness. He remarked in the file that he had discussed the issue with Mr Fadnavis, which he retracted in the legislature, said senior officials.

Tags: devendra fadnavis, lokayukta