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Demonetization failed to check black money: Sharad Pawar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday said Centre’s demonetization move has failed to curb black money in country and questioned the “real reason” behind its roll out.”Rural economy is collapsed. Farmers and cooperative movement are affected due to denomination. The move has failed to curb black money. Rs 14.38 lakh crore out of Rs 15.42 lakh crore are deposited in banks till date. If this is the outcome of this major decision then what was the real reason behind it?” he said.Pawar appealed to people to come on streets in a peaceful manner to protest against “hypocrisy” of the BJP-led Central government.He was speaking after inaugurating refurbished YB Chavan auditorium at a cooperative bank here.”Common people are standing in queues since last 50 days, but no black money-holder is seen standing there. The farmers have lost the hope due to fallen prices of agri products. All the sensible and common citizens are now worried about future,” he said.

Adarsh scam: Congress MP Ashok Chavan challenges nod granted to CBI to prosecute him

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress MP Ashok Chavan has approached the Bombay High Court challenging a decision of Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao granting sanction to CBI to prosecute him in the Adarsh housing society scam.In February this year, Governor Rao had granted sanction to the CBI to prosecute Chavan for offences under IPC sections 120 (b)(criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating and under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, in the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society case.The CBI had accused the former state Chief Minister of approving additional floor space index for Adarsh society in return for two flats for his relatives. He was also charged with illegally approving, as the then Revenue Minister, allotment of 40 per cent of the flats to civilians.Chavan, in his petition filed recently, challenged the sanction order and said it was “arbitrary, illegal and unjust” and passed without “proper application of mind” and with “malafide intentions”.The petition, which came up for hearing on December 22, was then adjourned. It will now come up for hearing before a division bench of the high court on January 23, 2017.Earlier, Chavan was forced to step down from the post of the Chief Minister in November 2010 after the allegations emerged against him.While the CBI named him as an accused in its FIR, in December 2013 the then Governor K Sankaranarayanan had refused permission to it to prosecute Chavan in the scam, leaving the central probe agency with no choice but to close the case against him.However, in March last year, the high court dismissed a plea made by Chavan, who is the sitting Lok Sabha MP from Nanded, seeking deletion of his name from the case, as the Governor had refused to grant sanction.Following this, the CBI re-approached the Governor seeking sanction, which was granted in February this year.

Sharad Pawar slams PM Modi for dragging Indira Gandhi into demonetization debate

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> NCP president Sharad Pawar on Saturday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for dragging Indira Gandhi into the demonetization debate, asking why other premiers after her, including Atal Bihari Vajpayee, did not take the note ban decision.The NCP veteran said Modi was trying to project himself as a bigger leader than Gandhi by making such a statement. “According to him (Modi), Indira Gandhi did not go in for demonetization as suggested by her Finance Minister Y B Chavan. So even PMs after her, including Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and even Finance Minister in the BJP regime Yashwant Sinha or the then Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani did not take such a decision,” Pawar told a press meet here. Modi had yesterday trained guns at the former PM Indira Gandhi, claiming that she overlooked a suggestion in 1971 for demonetization by the then Finance Minister Y B Chavan.Pawar said, “It is not right to say nothing has happened in the country in past 70 years. In the 70 years, Congress has not been in power all the time. Modi himself was chief minister of a state for 13 years.” “All leaders including Pandit (Jawaharlal) Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Vajpayee, Morarji Desai and Charan Singh have contributed to the country’s development. How can one say nothing has happened in 70 years and development is taking place only since last two years,” he said. Pawar said he had supported the decision of demonetization as it was good for eradication of black money. But, its implementation has been flawed and the central government is responsible for the hardships faced by the common man.”The central government is guilty of not putting in place an alternative system like pumping in enough lower denomination notes after the scrapping of high denomination currency notes,” he said. He said when people are standing in queues for their own money, several people have been caught with bundles of new currency notes in searches across the country.”From where have people got this amount of cash … it is from the banks which are under the control of central government,” he claimed. The NCP supremo said agriculture sector has been badly affected as farm produce is not getting a good price and small scale industries and labourers were also hit. Claiming that in Uttar Pradesh, potato prices have crashed to Rs 6-7 per kg from Rs 18-20 per kg in last one month, he said, “No steps have been taken to ease the hardships faced by the people.” Asked if the Opposition plans an agitation against the government over demonetization, Pawar said, “If necessary, agitation can be launched, but people will suffer because of such protests.” He warned that the long-term impact of the decision would be lay-off of employees by corporates.The former Union Agriculture Minister was also critical of the curbs imposed on the district cooperative in the wake of demonetization. “They were not given new currency and not allowed to accept old notes. I am being told that just because district cooperative banks are held by politicians such a negative approach was adopted. It shows the central government’s attitude towards the district banks and credit societies which are the backbone of rural economy,” said Pawar.He also referred to the negative reaction of District Central Cooperative Bank Association (DCCB) head Dilip Sanghi, who served as a minister in Modi government in Gujarat. “Even Sanghi who was minister when Narendra Modi was Chief Minister has criticised the decision of the central government to impose restrictions on DCCBs post-demonetization,” said Pawar. He rejected the BJP’s contention that its success in the local body polls in Maharashtra was an endorsement of demonetization. “We know more than them how to win local body polls. Only now we don’t have that power,” Pawar said.The NCP leader said he had supported demonetization as an action against black money. “It is like saying that the operation was done but the patient died because of lack of post-operative care,” he said. On being criticised for sharing dais with Modi, Pawar shot back saying, “Is Modi PM of Pakistan?”. “In a democratic set up, one has to interact with leaders cutting across party lines. Didn’t the Congress delegation meet the PM yesterday?” he asked. Pawar, who served as Defence Minister from June 1991 to March 1993, also voiced concern over terrorist attacks on security forces in Jammu and Kashmir and criticised the government for its “failure” in tackling the situation along borders. “Between February 4 and December 9 this year, there have been 162 attacks by terrorists out of which 104 have been on security forces. As many as 57 jawans and officers have been martyred. This has never happened before,” he claimed.He said the people in the border areas have been living a difficult life. They have to stay awake all night. The central government has failed to tackle this situation. “When in Opposition, Modi had criticised the then government of going soft on terrorism and people of the country felt that the ’56 inch chest’ would do wonders if voted to power,” he added. Pawar said the need of the hour is to strengthen the security forces and their morale. “After the surgical strikes, people were made to understand that terrorism will end, but infact, there have been more incidents (of terror strikes),” he said.

DNA Evening Must Reads: Modi accuses Indira, 50% tax on undisclosed money, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Indira Gandhi sold out India by ignoring Chavan’s call for demonetization in 1971: PM ModiPM Modi alleged that Indira Gandhi sold out India by ignoring advice to demonetize, Prime Minister Modi said, ‘She told her finance minister YB Chavan: are no more elections to be fought by Congress.’ Read more here.2. Demonetization: SC transfers petitions to 5-judge constitution benchThe Supreme Court bench hearing the petitions against demonetization transferred the matter to a five judge constitution bench on Friday and stayed all matters pertaining to various High Courts. Read more here.3. Putin gave Obama clear response on allegations of hacking during US election: ReportThe Kremlin said on Friday that President Vladimir Putin had given President Barack Obama “a really clear response” to US allegations that Moscow had interfered in the US presidential election by hacking Democratic Party organisations. Read more here.4. Govt says ’email us about black money info’, 50% tax to be imposedPeople can give information about conversion of black money to the government email address created to get such information, stated Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia. He announced that unaccounted cash can be disclosed under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) from December 17 2016 till March 31 2017. Read more here.5. No official estimation of black money before or after demonetization announcement: JaitleyThere is no official estimation of black money either before or after November 8 — the day government announced scrapping of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday. Read more here.

Aircraft investigation body AAIB to probe Mumbai helicopter crash in Goregaon

New Delhi: Apex aircraft investigation body, Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) will probe the helicopter crash in Goregaon suburb of Mumbai on Sunday in which one person was killed and three others were injured.

Aviation regulator DGCA has already started collecting evidence from the crash site which would help the AAIB in its probe, a senior official said.

“The DGCA officials are already on the crash site to collect evidence for probe. Since, ab initio its an accident, Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) will be conducting a probe into it. We are sending a team of investigators to Mumbai tomorrow to start the probe,” a senior AAIB official told PTI.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The official said that the AAIB is expected complete its preliminary investigation in one weeks time.

One person was killed and three others were injured when a helicopter crashed in the Goregaon suburb of the western metropolis.

The helicopter crashed in an open ground in Aarey colony, a green belt in suburban Goregaon, and caught fire, according to the city fire department officials.

Local residents alerted police and Fire Brigade after they spotted smoke billowing from the crash site.

Four persons, all occupants of the chopper, suffered burns and were rushed to a hospital where one of them succumbed to injuries, said DCP (Zone 12) Kirankumar Chavan.

First Published On : Dec 11, 2016 17:44 IST

Shiv Sena backs NCP MP Udayan Raje Bhosale’s remarks on demonetisation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Shiv Sena on Monday supported NCP MP Udayan Raje Bhosale’s remarks that people will “loot and destroy banks” if the situation arising after the demonetization move does not improve soon, saying he has voiced the concerns of people on the cash chaos. Bhosale, a descendant of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji, while speaking at a function to pay homage to late Deputy Prime Minister YB Chavan at Sangli in the presence of several political bigwigs last week, had also said many BJP MPs and MLAs who were his close friends too have not accepted the demonetization decision.”Chhatrapati’s anguish has represented the feelings of common man. At one time, Udayan Raje had joined BJP and was even made a minister so BJP cannot him disown him now. If the government has courage, it should challenge Udayan Raje’s statements,” the Sena said in an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’. It said Bhosale has time and again voiced the concerns of people.”After PM Narendra Modi’s decision, people in rural areas have suffered a lot. Yet, no leader from rural areas is ready to speak against it. These leaders have their hands full with old notes and they are now in a piquant situation as they cannot remove that money nor can they keep it as it is,” the Sena said.”During the British rule, Indians in Satara used to loot banks and government treasury. Udayan Raje, from the same Satara has warned the government that people will loot banks to live. Will the government shoot these people?” the Sena asked.

Setback for NCP in Maharashtra local bodies polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a setback to the opposition NCP in Maharashtra, the party could win only one of the four seats it held during the biennial elections held for six local bodies constituencies in the state Legislative Council. The voting was held on Saturday and the counting of votes took place on Tuesday.The NCP retained only Pune local bodies seat while Congress retained Nanded and wrested Sangli-Satara local bodies constituency from NCP. The BJP retained the Jalgaon local bodies seat. The Sharad Pawar-led party lost Bhandara-Gondia to BJP and Yavatmal to Shiv Sena.The loss in Sangli-Satara is a huge blow to NCP as it had earlier refused to yield to Congress’s demand for 3:3 formula of seat-sharing for the six seats. The NCP leadership had earlier lambasted former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan for sticking to the demand that his party get Sangli-Satara constituency in the seat-sharing. State NCP chief Sunil Tatkare had earlier alleged the alliance fell through because of Chavan’s adamant attitude. He had also questioned how Congress could demand the seat when NCP had more numbers. The NCP backed an independent in Nanded, the stronghold of state Congress president Ashok Chavan.
ALSO READ Ashok Chavan blames NCP for BJP-Sena gain in Council bypollsAs per the figures given by state electoral office, Amar Rajurkar (Congress) polled 251 as against 208 votes received by independent Shyamsunder Shinde. Congress’s Mohan Kadam bagged 309 votes as against 246 by Shekhar Gore(NCP) in Sangli-Satara.In Yavatmal, Tanaji Sawant of Shiv Sena defeated Congress’s Shankar Bade. Sawant polled 348 votes as against 78 of Bade. Notably, the NCP had backed Sawant. In Pune, Anil Bhosale of NCP bagged 440 votes as against 133 of Ashok Yenpure (BJP). Congress candidate Sanjay Jagtap finished a poor third with 71 votes.In Jalgaon, Chandulal Patel (BJP) polled 421 votes. Independent Vijay Patil polled 90 votes while remaining six independents drew a blank.In Bhandara-Gondia, Parinay Phuke of BJP trounced NCP’s Rajendra Jain, who polled 137 votes and Praful Agrawal of Congress who got 112 votes. In the 78-member Upper House, Congress now has 20 members, the NCP tally has been reduced to 23, while BJP has 18, and Shiv Sena has nine members. However, NCP continues to be the single largest party in the House.The biennial polls to five seats from teachers and graduates constituencies are also scheduled for which dates will be announced soon, an election official said.The elections to Nashik graduates constituency held by Congress, Aurangabad teachers held by NCP, Amravati graduates held by BJP and Konkan teachers and Nagpur teachers constituencies held by independents will be held soon as their term also ends on December 5.

Another BJP worker found murdered in Karnataka

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A BJP worker was found murdered in a village in this district, an incident which comes close on the heels of the murder of an RSS worker in Bengaluru and the mysterious death of a BJP activist near Mysuru.The deceased, Sunil Dongre’s body was found near an educational institution on Monday morning, a senior police official said. The body bore multiple stab injuries in the stomach and head, he said, adding the murder had taken place on November 6 in Sonala village in the district. “We are investigating the case and will soon ascertain the motive behind the murder,” police said. Dongre, 35, was an aide of Aurad MLA Prabhu Chavan and enjoyed clout, they added. Dongre owned over 50 acres of agricultural land in Sonala and was financially sound, police said. MLA Chavan visited the deceased’s house and consoled the family members. Earlier on October 16, Rudresh (35), an RSS worker, was allegedly hacked to death by two motorcycle-borne men.On November 4, BJP Yuva Morcha leader J Ravi (30) was found dead in mysterious circumstances near Magali in Mysuru district, with his family and the party alleging that it was a murder.

NCP to celebrate Sharad Pawar’s half century in politics

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As NCP supremo Sharad Pawar is completing 50 years in politics, his party has planned a string of events across Maharashtra and other parts of the country to celebrate his eventful career which saw his rise from the grassroots to prominent state and national slots.Yashvantrao Chavan Pratishthan, headed by his daughter Supriya Sule (47), is holding events in February at Pune and Mumbai to mark the anniversary.The period had witnessed many changes in politics of the nation, including major splits in Congress, in some of which the 76-year-old leader himself played a central role.The “Maratha Strongman”, as he is often referred to by friends and rivals, plunged into politics as a grassroots worker in home turf Baramati in western Maharashtra in 1960s, and grew up under the tutelage of the late Y B Chavan.A hub of co-operatives which are crucial in the state politics, western Maharashtra has always been a fertile ground for youngsters to learn the ropes in politics.A player for all seasons, his name has since then been synonymous with power politics, both in Maharashtra and at the Centre.After his first election to the Maharashtra Assembly in 1967, Pawar has never lost any electoral contest, a feat which has eluded many of his contemporaries.After scoring his maiden victory, young Pawar was inducted as a junior minister. He was elevated to the Cabinet rank and over the years held several key portfolios in the state. In 1978, he became the youngest Chief Minister of Maharashtra at 38, a post at which he had three more stints.Pawar, who floated a separate outfit after breaking away from Congress, called Congress (S), returned to the parent party in 1986 at an event in Aurangabad in presence of then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.Since his maiden Lok Sabha poll victory in 1984, Pawar has remained a key player in national politics. His prime ministerial ambitions, however, were cut short as Congress chose P V Narasimha Rao for the post, after the elections that followed the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991.Industrialist Rahul Bajaj put it succintly, during an event in Delhi to celebrate Pawar’s 75th birthday, saying the Maratha strongman was the “best PM the country never had”.During the NDA regime, Pawar headed the joint parliamentary committee probing higher amount of pesticide content in soft drinks in 2003. Pawar has always maintained cordial relations with leaders cutting across political divides, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and many top leaders from the left, right and the centre.In 1991, Pawar became Defence Minister in the Narasimha Rao Cabinet. He faced allegations of diverting defence land to builders. He was also accused of ferrying alleged aides of Dawood Ibrahim in his official plane.During Pawar’s last stint as Maharashtra Chief Minister, Mumbai was rocked by serial bomb blasts in March, 1993 followed by the Gowari stampede in 1994 in Nagpur.After parting ways with Sonia Gandhi over the foreign origin issue, Pawar in 1999 formed the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). His party, however, struck alliance with Congress and ruled Maharashtra for 15 years till the BJP-led government came to power in 2014.In 2014, Pawar got elected to the Rajya Sabha, enabling his daughter Supriya to contest from his Baramati Lok Sabha seat.Pawar has also occupied key positions on the cricket board, including that of BCCI and ICC President, besides other sports associations.As the veteran politician is set to complete half a century of public life, the question being asked is who will be his political heir.The query was recently put to none other than Supriya, an NCP MP, and pat came the reply “time will decide”.”For Yashwantrao Chavan (first Chief Minister of Maharashtra), Pawarsaheb was his ‘manasputra’ (political heir). However, time will decide who will be his (Pawar’s) political heir in future,” Supriya added.

Maratha quota: Ashok Chavan says BJP is against reservation because it takes orders from RSS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan alleged on Friday that the BJP-led government was not serious about the quota issue and said his party will take to the streets in support of reservation for Muslims and Marathas. “The present BJP government is against reservation since it takes orders from the RSS. BJP state chief Raosaheb Danve has made it clear that his party is against reservation on the basis of religion,” Chavan claimed.”The previous government had given five per cent reservation to Muslims not on the basis of religion, but their backwardness. The BJP-Sena government deliberately allowed the Ordinance to lapse. In the last one-and-half years, they have just assured that a new law will be brought, but their assurance is only on paper. This shows they are not serious,” he said, referring to BJP’s support to Maratha reservation.A resolution seeking to provide reservation to the Maratha community was adopted on Thursday at BJP’s state executive meeting in Mumbai. However, asked about reservation for Muslims, Danve had said there was no provision for quota on the basis of religion.Chavan said although Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeals that Muslims should not be considered as a votebank and should be treated equally, the state government denies their rightful reservation to the community. The government is not serious in providing reservation to Marathas and this has been evident in last two years. The government did not take cognisance of the Maratha morchas organised all over the state, he claimed.”Anger against the state government was seen during the silent morchas. The resolution on Maratha reservation was passed in the BJP state executive fearing backlash in the ensuing elections. Had the government been serious, the decision would have been taken long ago as the same party is in power in Maharashtra and Centre,” he said.The resolution in the state executive was “all drama”, the former Maharashtra Chief Minister alleged. “The governments in the state and the Centre function on RSS ideology, which is against reservation. “The RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has made his views known on the issue. Just like it has denied Muslims their reservation, they are doing the same with the Marathas,” he charged.The Congress leader said his party will implement the reservations for Marathas and Muslims if it comes to power. “But the party will take to the streets to demand that the reservations be implemented immediately. If the government does not budge, people will teach them a lesson,” he charged.

Sanatan Sanstha is a ‘dangerous’ organisation, says former Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan

Pune: Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Saturday termed Sanatan Sanstha as a “dangerous” organisation and renewed his demand for a ban on it following the arrest of a member of its affiliate in connection with the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.

File image of Prithviraj Chavan. AFP

File image of Prithviraj Chavan. AFP

Tawde is a member of Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS), an offshoot of Sanatan Sanstha, and was arrested by CBI at Panvel near Mumbai on Friday night. The Congress leader, during his tenure as the Chief Minister (2010–2014), had sent a proposal to the Centre seeking a ban on the Goa-headquartered radical group in the wake of Dabholkar’s murder in Pune on August 20, 2013.

Reacting to Tawdes’ arrest, Chavan said “the Maharashtra Chief Minister should issue clear directive to its lawyers to make out a case for banning Sanatan Sanstha against whom the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has proofs. “The State government and Union Home Ministry have an important role to play in effecting ban on this outfit which is targeting and eliminating those opposed to its ideology.

The kingpin of this dangerous outfit should be booked and punished,” Chavan said, adding that the Modi government is obliged under the Constitution to act against terrorist elements which pose a threat to the country.

FTII receives packet containing suspected explosive substance

A packet containing some suspected explosive substance, a detonator and a threat letter in connection with JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar’s expected visit in April, was received by the office of the director of the FTII in Pune this evening, police said.The packet was addressed to the previous director of the Film and Television Institute of India, Prashant Pathrabe.Bhupendra Kainthola, the present director of the institute, said, “My office received the packet at 5.30 pm today and since the contents were suspicious, we alerted the police.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior police inspector Sushma Chavan of the Deccan Police Station said the parcel contained a detonator and a white powder, suspected to be some explosive material. It also had a letter, warning the director against allowing Kumar to visit the FTII campus.Police suspect that the packet must have been sent before Kumar’s visit to Pune on April 24, when Pathrabe was the director of FTII.Kumar, who addressed a gathering in Pune on that day, was reportedly going to visit the FTII too, but eventually he did not.”The contents have been sent to the forensic lab,” inspector Chavan said.

Modi should live in India before promoting Make in India: Ashok Chavan

Maharashtra Congress Chief Ashok Chavan on Sunday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he should first “live in India” and then promote “Make in India”, even as he criticised the Centre for being “anti-labour” on the occasion on International Labour Day.Taking potshots at Modi’s flagship ‘Make in India’ campaign, Chavan said, “Modi ji should first love India and live in India, and then he should say Make In India.” He was addressing a gathering of railway officials and employees in Mumbai organised by Central Railway Majdoor Sangh (CRMS) to mark the occasion.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Union government is coming up with revised laws in the name of labour reforms but they are turning out to be anti- labour. Now, time has come when all labour unions come together at one platform and oppose it,” he said.He also said it was the erstwhile Congress government in Maharashtra which brought monorail and metro rail services in Mumbai, but, the BJP government was trying to take away the credit for it. Earlier, Chavan unveiled statue of founder president of CRMS, S M Shukla, at its headquarters in Dadar.M Raghavaiya, General Secretary of National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) also addressed the gathering and suggested the government to improvise the efficiency of the railways by motivating employees.General Manager of Western Railway G C Agrawal, president of CRMS R P Bhatnagar, Maharashtra Secretary of INTUC (Indian National Trade Union Congress) J P Chhajed and other officials of Central and Western Railway were also present on the occasion.

Adarsh scam: BJP demands FIR against guilty before probing the case further

Welcoming the Bombay High Court’s order in the Adarsh Society scam, Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar on Saturday demanded that Maharashtra government should lodge an FIR in the case. Some people had benefited in the scam and hence we want registration of an FIR first and not just re-inquiry, he said.The Bombay High Court had on Friday ordered demolition of the 31-storey scam-tainted Adarsh apartments in the heart of Mumbai and sought criminal proceedings against politicians and bureaucrats for “misuse” of powers, holding that the tower was illegally constructed.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The ramifications of the case which involves cheating are wide. The role of politicians who helped their relatives obtain flats in the controversial Adarsh society needs to be probed,” Shelar told reporters.During the previous Congress-NCP regime, the then Governor denied permission to the CBI to prosecute the Chief Minister (Ashok Chavan) in the case, he said. After the BJP-led state government took over in 2014, the present Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao granted CBI the permission to prosecute the guilty, Shelar said. The role of the officials of Mumbai civic body (MCGM) and those in the state government should also to be investigated, he said.”An inquiry will reveal everything but we demand that the government first file an FIR,” Shelar added.The posh 31-storey Adarsh Housing Society is constructed on a prime plot of land in Colaba here. It was meant for Kargil war widows and defence personnels. However, politicians, bureaucrats and military officers allegedly conspired to bend rules and obtained flats for themselves or for relatives at below-the-market rates.The scam that came to light in November 2010 had forced the then Chief Minister Ashok Chavan to resign.

Adarsh verdict: BJP, Sena term it historic; Ashok Chavan parries queries

Mumbai: The BJP and Shiv Sena on Friday welcomed the Bombay High Court’s order on scam-tainted Adarsh Housing Society in south Mumbai terming it as “historic” while the Congress, which was haunted by the multi-crore case leading to the resignation of Ashok Chavan as Maharashtra Chief Minister, said the ruling has nothing to do with the party or its leaders.

The Bombay High Court today ordered demolition of the 31-storey scam-tainted Adarsh apartments. News 18

The Bombay High Court today ordered demolition of the 31-storey scam-tainted Adarsh apartments. News 18

“This is a historic decision by the High Court. This is the first time the Court has ordered the demolition of the building, almost 30 years after ‘Pratibha’ (a housing society off Warden Road) was demolished. This is a heavy blow to corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. Now (ex-CM) Ashok Chavan will have to face and answer more tough questions as he had given the required sanctions to construct the (housing) society,” BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said.

However, Chavan, who had to step down as CM in 2010, in the wake of the controversy and is facing prosecution in the case, told PTI, “I have not received the copy of the order. Unless I get it in my hand, I cannot comment on the issue.”

BJP leader Prem Shukla said, “Adarsh tower was erected on the corruption culture which was rampant in the Congress and today High Court has stamped it. Also, it should not be forgotten that it was the Congress which appointed Ashok Chavan, who lost his chief ministership on account of Adarsh scam, as the party’s state unit chief later.”

Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said the court order has “exposed the cancer of corruption” during the previous Congress-NCP regime.

“While in Opposition, we had raised this issue time and again in the State Legislature. The Commission set up by the previous government just before elections had tried to give them a clean chit against which we had raised our voice,” Gore said.

“HC has been very clear in its decision. It reaffirms the irregularities and has exposed the cancer of corruption prevalent during the Congress-NCP government,” she added.

Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said his party will continue with its legal battle to prove innocence of its leaders.

“The Congress party and our leaders have nothing to do with the demolishing of the building. The matter is between the petitioners and the High Court. As far as our leaders are concerned, we will fight the legal battle to prove we have not been involved in any wrongdoings,” Sawant said.

However, former Union Minister Milind Deora tweeted, “Adarsh verdict sends a strong message to bureaucrats & ALL political parties: the days of profiting from government land are long gone.”

Bombay HC orders demolishment of Adarsh Housing Society

The Bombay High Court has ordered the demolition of Adarsh Housing Society, the Mumbai apartment which became centre of a political and bureaucratic corruption issue.The court has given the housing society twelve weeks to appeal to the Supreme Court against the order. The HC has also ordered an inquiry against politicians, ministers and officers who were involved in the Adarsh Housing Society scam.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan who quit after being accused of being involved in the scam refused to comment on the court order saying, “I don’t want to react on the court judgement.”YP Singh petitioner and lawyer in the case said, “There are 2 type of cases in Adarsh . The first one was related to demolition of building, very happy that we have won case. Regarding the second part,we’re confident that corrupt government servants and politicians will be sent to jail under PMLA.”The housing society was built for Kargil war veterans and widows, however, the apartments were cheaply given to politicians, ministers and bureaucrats. Former CM Chavan’s three relatives had been given the apartment in the 31-storey building.Centre had ordered the demolishment of the building in 2011. But the society’s lawyer had challenged the order in court.

Nagpur: Sonia Gandhi asserts Ambedkar’s legacy for Congress on RSS turf

The Narendra Modi government on Monday came under a double-barrel attack from Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi over “manifold rise in unrest among students”, on the home turf of RSS in Nagpur.Addressing a rally to mark culmination of the year-long celebrations of the 125th birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar at Kasturchand Park here, Sonia asserted the legacy of the dalit icon for Congress and tore into RSS over reservation.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The right-wing outfit is bent upon to destroy the democratic values, disturb secular fabric and alter Indian Constitution authored by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. RSS wants to crush reservation for the scheduled caste, scheduled tribes, OBCs and minorities which is guaranteed to them by Constitution,” she said.In an apparent reference to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Sonia said Sangh is posing a “great threat’ to the reservation system when it talks against it. Seeking to blunt BJP’s efforts to ‘appropriate’ legacy of Ambedkar, Sonia said, “Congress had given Dr Ambedkar his dues by appointing him as chairman of the Draft Committee of Constitution.”Congress will leave no stone unturned to save the democratic values and secular fabric being destroyed by some forces. It is the constitutional duty of Congress to give protection to these factors”.Sonia Gandhi takes on Modi govtFocusing her speech mainly on issue of reservation, the combative Congress chief said the Narendra Modi government is set to discriminate against women at Panchayati level by depriving them from enjoying power in their villages.”In Haryana and Rajasthan, the BJP-ruled governments are contemplating to bring legislation asking for certain education level for contestants,” she said.Sonia said this will deprive about 80 per cent of dalit women from contesting Panchayati elections.”The Congress regime brought the mid-day meal scheme for the children, which was a social revolution as dreamt by Ambedkar. Ambedkar received good support from the then Congress stalwarts like Jawahralal Nehru and Sardar Valabhbhai Patel,” she said.Targeting Modi, she said BJP government is “destabilising the democratically-elected Congress governments in Uttarkhand and Arunchal Pradesh”.”The students’ unrest has grown manifold under the current Modi government in the country. Congress has a moral responsibility and constitutional duty to protect the backward community, dalits, minorities and the under-privileged ones and party will not fail in it..Congress has been doing this for more than 60 years,” she added.Sonia and Rahul visit DeekshabhoomiEarlier in the day, Sonia and Rahul visited memorial of Ambedkar at Deekshabhoomi in Nagpur where the dalit icon had embraced Buddhism on October 14, 1956. Speaking ahead of his mother, Rahul said, “I would not let the nation become weak due to continuous efforts by RSS to make changes in Constitution and to alter entire reservation facilities, thereby depriving a huge population of dalits in the country (sic)”. He blamed the Modi government for “growing unrest” among the students community in the country.Referring to the suicide of HCU research scholar Rohith Vemula, Rahul said, “the Modi government is suppressing voice of dalit scholars in the country by appointing RSS-backed functionaries at top positions. HCU Vice-Chancellor is one among them who wanted to crush the dalit students there”.”I went to Hyderabad to express my solidarity with Rohith’s supporters and will continue to do so wherever and whenever such injustices are done to them,” he said.Rahul Gandhi attack Modi on jewellers’ strikeThe Congress vice-president alleged that RSS was running the government from “behind the curtain by appointing their own men as Officers on Special Duty (OSDs)”. He alleged that the BJP government “ineptly” handled the issue of levying excise duty on jewellery, which triggered indefinite strike by jewellers since last 40 days.”On one hand Narendra Modi is talking about ‘Make in India’ and on the other hand hundreds of artisans and workers in the jewellery market are on the verge of dying since they are on an indefinite strike”.”Tomorrow, I am scheduled to meet the agitating jewellers in Jhaveri Bazar in Mumbai,” he stated.Sushilkumar Shinde, former Union Home Minister and chairman of ‘Babasaheb Ambedkar 125th birth anniversary celebration committee’, opposition leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, MPCC chief Ashok Chavan also spoke on the occasion.A phalanx of Congress leaders including ex-Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh, Veerappa Moily, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramahiah, Ashok Gehlot, Oscar Fernandes, Prithviraj Chavan were present on the occasion.

Maharashtra drought: Latur to get water by train in 15 days

Water will be brought to Latur district by trains in the next 15 days while prohibitory orders were clamped near water supply spots in Parbhani town to prevent any violence as authorities grapple with drought in the worst-hit Marathwada region of Maharashtra.The situation has turned so grim in areas like Latur and Beed that authorities are even mulling to shift the inmates in district prisons even as the Congress-NCP Opposition on Thursday accused the BJP-led Government of failing to tackle the severe crisis. “We have made arrangements for supplying water through train to Latur. The first such train will reach Latur in next fortnight,” Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse told the Maharashtra Assembly during a discussion on the acute water scarcity in Latur.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In drought-hit Parbhani town, prohibitory orders have been enforced near supply spots and water tanks under section 144 of CrPC till May 3 with deployment of Home Guards to check people milling around taps and tanks in large numbers that could result in law and order problems.
ALSO READ Maharashtra drought: No stay on first match of IPL 2016 to be held at Wankhede stadium, says Bombay HC Water crunch has also hit Thane, adjoining Mumbai, with Municipal Commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal appointing nodal officers for each of the 10 wards to take up measures to tackle the situation. The Bombay High Court yesterday came down heavily on the BCCI and cricket associations for planning to hold IPL matches in the state when it is in the grip of a grim water shortage. Khadse rejected claim by former CM Prithviraj Chavan that the BJP-led government in Maharashtra lacks the ‘political will’ to resolve the water crisis in Latur and other parts of Marathwada. “There is no other issue more important (for the government) than this one” he said, adding, “we have the political will and that’s why we are bringing water through Railways.” “Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman yesterday informed me that if needed, water from Telangana will be supplied to us (Maharashtra). “No matter whatever the cost, we will supply water to these drought affected areas,” Khadse said.Underlining the gravity of the water supply situation, Chavan said, “We don’t want long speeches but a solution. Today, there is no other issue more important than this one.” “When we (Congress-NCP) were in power, we brought water through a over 100 km long pipeline to Osmanabad. Couldn’t this government undertake a similar project for Latur,” Chavan said.A top official said authorities have prepared a contingency plan for shifting the jail inmates in Latur and Beed districts. “So far, no inmate has been shifted, but we will do so if the situation warrants,” the official told PTI.A Nashik report said parts of the district are facing drought-like situation. “15 tehsils in the district are facing severe water scarcity following inadequate rainfall since the past three years,” an official said.Of these, severe drought is being experienced in Yeola, Nandgaon, Malegaon, Satana, Sinnar and Chandvad.

Maharashtra: Water trains to chug into Latur, but won’t slake its thirst

Water trains are coming to the rescue of parched Latur – partial rescue to be precise.Water resources minister Girish Mahajan on Monday said that the government has no other option now, given the severe situation in the Marathwada region.Mahajan said that he has already talked to Union railway minister Suresh Prabhu and the latter has shown readiness to provide trains.That, however, doesn’t mean the end of the problem. For one,<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>dams in Marathwada now hold just 5% water of their total capacity. Even in the entire state, total storage in dams are only 26% of the total capacity.Since dams are drying up, where to fetch water from is a big issue, Mahajan said. Also, even if the state does manage to do that, trains won’t be able to transport water to distant places, he said.The state will have to face this grim situation for the next three and a half months. Even though monsoon would break in the first week of June, we would have to bear drought till July, he said.Mahajan defended the government’s decision to impose Section 144 in Latur to prevent attacks on water tankers.In fact, he made it clear that the state would impose Section 144 whenever required since it is aimed at providing water to the needy.It was former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan who had mooted the idea of sending water to Latur by trains. After Chavan’s statement, the railway ministry had even made arrangements for water transportation, but the proposal never took off.In a bid to preserve water, especially when Holi is round the corner, Mahajan appealed to the people to celebrate a dry Holi this year.All municipal corporation commissioners and district collectors have been asked to dissuade people from using water tankers for Holi and to ban rain dance and other events that will lead to water wastage.Mahajand said that he has also written to all collectors and commissioners to ensure that new swimming pools are not opened.State Congress president and Lok Sabha MP Ashok Chavan has also appealed to the people to celebrate a dry Rang Panchami this year. In a press release issued by the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee, Chavan appealed to the people to celebrate Rang Panchami by applying dry colour on their foreheads, instead of using water.

With drought looming, Maha govt dresses up budget to please the farmer, but key flaws remain

By RN Bhaskar

On the face of it, the government of Maharashtra has sought to bring forth a budget that is farmer friendly. It has allocated some Rs 25,000 crore for agriculture. It has introduced schemes that appear to be aimed at strengthening agriculture as well (see below).

But even a first glance shows that many of the changes are cosmetic, with the key flaws in Maharashtra’s agriculture remaining unaddressed.

Issues that actually hurt:

The farmer is grievously hurt on account of three factors.

The first is the absence of irrigation facilities. While states like Haryana and Punjab have 98 percent of their agricultural land connected to irrigational facilities, Maharashtra has only 17 percent. This is significantly lower than even the national average of 48 percent. Much of this 17 percent has been focussed on areas popularly known as the sugarcane belt – where some of the most powerful politicians come from. This is a malaise that has existed right since the formation of Maharashtra. Initially, this was promoted by the Congress, under the leadership of Yeshwantrao Chavan. Later it was propagated by the NCP. Both parties were more interested in promoting sugar cane, which is a water-guzzling crop. As a result, much of Maharashtra remained at the mercy of the rains, and the biggest beneficiaries were the sugar cooperatives, which had access to irrigation and continued promoting the cultivation of water guzzling crops.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The second is the insidious manner in which the farmer has been prevented from getting the most remunerative prices that the market was willing to pay. The state formed the Agricultural Marketing Produce Committee (APMC) which usurped the right to market fruit and vegetables. The entire crop that farmers grow had to be sold through these APMCs, which in turn sold them to traders to sell in the city. Take Mumbai for instance. The price that the common consumer pays for fruit and vegetable is well over three to five times the price at which it is available at farms just outside the city’s extended suburbs. A 300-400 percent margin is mind-boggling. But this is what the APMCs grab. Since these committees are technically not arms of the government, they are not audited by government auditors and do not come under the scrutiny of the CAG or its counterparts in the state. The members on the APMC committees are selected by politicians and the funds accruing to these committees are easy money for politicians with hardly any accountability. Thus the farmer suffers, while the traders and politicians enjoy the moolah.

The third is the manner in which cooperative dairy farming, the fastest route to rural prosperity,­ has been denied to most farmers. Verghese Kurien showed how backyard dairy farming was the quickest way to augment rural incomes provided three things happened.

First, a village cooperative had to be set up which would guarantee offtake of all the milk any family produced at a steady remunerative price.

Second, the village cooperative would then sell the milk to the district cooperative, which in turn would set up processing facilities for the milk that was collected. The milk that could be sold as milk in the market was first rushed to the market. The rest was converted into value added products, including milk powder, so that there was no destruction of value in the milk that remained unsold for the day. The powder was used for reconstituting milk during the months when milk production was low. In Maharashtra, dairies coexist only where there are sugarcane cooperatives. The rest of the state goes without the safety net milk cooperatives offer. Even the existing milk cooperatives offer prices that are at least 15 percent less than the price that farmers get in states like Gujarat and Rajasthan. The rest of the farmers get prices ranging from Rs 14-18 per litre against as Rs 28-30 that farmers in Gujarat get.

None of these basic flaws have been addressed by this budget.

There is no attempt to put a price on water consumed. That would have ensured that water-guzzling parts of Maharashtra paid a price for the water they consumed.

Neither there has been an attempt to discourage pumping water from underground. Maharashtra has alarming low water tables, which could pose problems for the state in the coming years.

There is no attempt to abolish the APMCs. Gujarat did this more than 10 years ago. Delhi did this a few years ago. When Prithviraj Chavan was the chief minister, a bill to abolish APMCs was drafted and was to be pushed through the assembly. Inexplicably, the bills were withdrawn at the very last moment. Private conversations with Maharashtra’s decision makers reveal that the NCP exerted tremendous pressure to ensure its withdrawal.

Instead, the government has introduced not only a ban on the slaughter of cows and their progeny, but has also banned the transportation of such cows. As a result farmers in drought prone areas can neither keep the cows, nor even sell them. If there is any move that has hurt dairy farming most in Maharashtra – a move that could have helped augment rural prosperity – this is the move. The electoral repercussions of this decision could be far-reaching.

What should the state have done?

The easiest would have been to abolish the APMCs. It would have allowed farmers to get a higher price. It requires no subsidy. But it would have been a move that would have benefitted distressed farmers enormously.

The state should have accepted the offer made by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) to contribute Rs 30 crore for the development of dairy cooperatives in the Vidarbha region. The state has remained silent on this proposal. True, there is a provision in the budget that dairy farming would be promoted. But the lack of action during the past few months leads one to be sceptical. Another move the state could make is introducing a minimum support price for milk. Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and a few other progressive states have done this. This ensures that small farmers get this price, even where dairy cooperatives do not exist. The state has not done this.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

However, the thrust on dryland farming is something that could benefit Vidarbha enormously. It grows black millet, which is highly nutritious. But what is missing is processing plants, which could take these millets and package them as nutritious supplements (like ragi or ayurvedic remedies for malnutrition). The list of schemes suggests that this could be done. But we will have to wait and see if such measures are actually implemented.

The third thing the state could have done is to immediately order the metering of agricultural power consumption. That would, indirectly, put a price on water sucked out of the ground. The earlier government had encouraged the setting up of wireless meters which could be read without government employees having to go to the premises to read (or tamper with) the meters. Such measures appear to have been pursued less vigorously lately. As mentioned before, the biggest beneficiaries of subsidised (and unmetered) power is the sugar cooperative lobby. The budget could have suggested measures that would prevent this loot. That way, other farmers in other regions could have benefitted as some water could then reach these areas. Providing for 90,000 more pumps without talking about the need for metering and pricing is quite foolhardy.

Hopefully, the state’s thrust on completion of irrigation projects that are almost complete should help farmers next year. So should the creation of check dams which are inexpensive to set up, but go a long way in trapping water in rain-fed areas. Remember, one reason why Gujarat has seen an increase in ground water tables is its ability to create almost 12 lakh check dams, using NREGA funds. As a result, even during years when rains were scant, farmers in Gujarat escaped farm distress. Maharashtra should do the same thing, a bit more aggressively than it has done all along.

What’s in it for agriculture?

— The farmer is the center-point of this budget. Budget dedicated to ‘Baliraja’.

— Provision of Rs 25,000 crore for various schemes in agri sector.

— Emphasis on dry land farming, accelerated development of infrastructure, removal of disparity, development of urban areas and generation of employment opportunities for youth.

— In 2016-17, a substantial provision of Rs 1,855 crore for crop insurance scheme.

— A substantially higher provision of Rs 2,000 crore for farm ponds, wells and electric pump installation, form this fund. 100,000 farm ponds 37,500 wells and 90,000 electric pumps will be made available.

— Planning for renovation of 6,862 ex-Malgujari tanks in the Naxal affected districts of northern Vidarbha.

— New scheme named as ‘Palak Mantri Pandhan Rasta Yojana’ and ‘Palak Mantri Earth Moving Machine Kharadi Yojana’ launched.

— Repair works of pandhan rasta will be allotted to rural youth.

— An outlay of Rs 110 crore to make available crop loan with concessional rate of interest to farmers.

— To boost the production of oil seeds and pulses crop, under National Agriculture Development Scheme an outlay of Rs 80 crore.

— New scheme launched to provides subsidy up to 25 percent or max Rs 50 lakh to set up agriculture processing units.

— An outlay of Rs 60 crore for the new scheme called ‘Pandit Dindayal Upadhyay Krishi Margdarshan Yojana.’ For promoting agriculture and research new government agriculture at Buldhana and Ahmednagar, new government horticulture college at Jalgaon.

— An outlay of Rs 10 crore for two new veterinary colleges at Jalgaon and Akola.

— Decision to implement new scheme called ‘Krishi Gurukul Yojana’ for advanced agriculture training of farmers through role model farmers.

— An agriculture festival to be organised every district to create awareness among farmers.

— For promotion of organic farming, organic farming research and training centres in four agriculture universities proposed.

— Automated weather centres at 2,065 revenue blocks proposed for accurate weather forecasting.

— Setting up dairy development projects under Integrated Agriculture Development Programme, projects worth Rs 100 crore involving manufacturing company of farmers to be set up in Vidarbha and Marathwada.

— Provision of Rs 51.13 crore to set up Intensive Poultry Development Unit in 14 districts.

— For rearing of cattle, modernisation of ‘Valu Mata Sangopan Kendra’.

— New scheme called ‘Govardhan Gowansh Raksha Kendra’ launched to implement the programme of raring non lactating and unproductive cattle breed in 34 rural districts with NGO participation.

— Provision of Rs 7,850 crore for irrigation projects.

— Substantial outlay of Rs 2,078 crore for various seven Irrigation projects included in ‘Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana’.

— Water literacy and water awareness creation in society, permanent water centre at Yashada Pune and sub-centre at Aurangabad, Amravati and Chandrapur.

Latur policemen attacked: NCP man led the assault, says injured

A policeman injured in a mob attack in Latur district on February 20 on Friday alleged a local NCP leader led the crowd which surrounded the police chowki (outpost) at Pangaon village and attacked him and his colleagues.”Dhananjay Chavan was leader of the mob. He gathered people, shut down shops in the village. Chavan is leader of NCP’s tehsil unit. He asked us why they were not allowed to hoist a flag in Ambedkar Chowk,” constable K Awaskar said on Friday, speaking to reporters in Latur.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I was with assistant sub-inspector Yunus Shaikh in the chowki when four people entered. A mob surrounded the chowki. People tried to drag Shaikh out. They threw boards on table and on our heads,” he said.”I was calling police control on wireless but the mob snatched the set away. They dragged me out and kicked and punched us,” Awaskar said.”I fell down. Some members of the mob ran after me. I asked them why were they assaulting us. I knew these people. I told seniors not to send home guards but send police to the spot. There is no Hindu-Muslim element (communal angle) in this attack,” he said.Sixteen people have been arrested so far over the attack. The mob had targeted two policemen for stopping the locals from hoisting a saffron flag in a communally sensitive area the day before.Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said earlier this week that such acts will not be tolerated. He also asked the DGP and Minister of State for Home Ram Shinde to visit Pangaon.”The government feels that it is not an attack on an individual but on the (entire police) force. Won’t tolerate such act,” the CM said.

Left high and dry? Suresh Prabhu’s Rail Budget neglected his own state, say commuters, politicians

Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu presented his second rail budget on Thursday, but there is disappointment for Mumbai and Maharashtra as there are no new trains and major announcements, except for two rail corridors.

This year too, he has not made a big announcement, but has focused on development for the railways. There are more than 84 lakh commuters on the western and central railway, but there are no major announcements of new trains. However, the minister promised to increase the platform height of each stations in Mumbai.

Rail commuters in the city feel that the focus should be on providing quick solutions to the problems of the common people-solutions that will make their travel more comfortable and safe. But commuters appear to be in for a disappointment.

Suresh Prabhu. File photo. AFPSuresh Prabhu. File photo. AFP

Suresh Prabhu. File photo. AFP

Commenting on the rail budget, Sameer Bobate said, “While the railways are always talking about big projects, the average commuter is only interested in improving his travelling experience.”

In the regimes of Lalu Prasad, Nitish Kumar and even Mamta Bannerjee, the minister has taken care of their state and cities, but Prabhu did not introduce any new train for Mumbai or Maharashtra, he said.

According to Dhaval Desai from the Observer Research Foundation, the immediate need is to stop the railway deaths that are taking place on the tracks on a daily basis. “It is a fact that there are at least 10-12 people dying on the tracks every day, and this is a matter of serious concern,” he said.

Speaking to Firstpost , an RTI activist Anil Galgali said, “The railway minister, who hails from Mumbai has made a mockery of the sentiments of 84 lakh passengers belonging to his own city Mumbai. There are no new trains and the budget involves a repetition of the same routine. The lifeline is becoming a death line.”

Former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said the railway budget presented by railway minister Suresh Prabhu was “quite disappointing”. “There’s nothing in it for Mumbai and Maharashtra. We had asked the government to start various rail services and projects, but in vain.”

More criticism came from Congress MP and former CM Ashok Chavan, who called it a “super flop” rail budget. “It did not meet the common man’s expectations. The BJP-led government had promised many things before election, but all its promises are falling flat now. There was no vision in the budget,” he added.

In Mumbai, nearly 84 lakh people travel in packed locals. And yet, the government has disappointed Mumbaikars, said NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik to Firstpost.

However, city BJP president Ashish Shelar said Suresh Prabhu has presented a development-oriented budget. “We never give false promises to commuters. Two rail corridors in Mumbai will change the face of rail travel in the years to come,” he said.

Following are the major announcements for Mumbai-

Two rail Corridors- Churchgate to Virar and CST to Panvel, with both corridors connected to Metro Rail.
For reasons of security of commuters, increasing the height of platforms
A special corridor for the Mumbai and Navi Mumbai Airports
Starting work on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train, with the help of Japan
CCTV Cameras at all stations

Suraj Parmar suicide: Police form SIT to probe financial angle in Thane builder’s death

Thane (Maharashtra): The Thane police on Thursday formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by an ACP to probe the financial dealings of the four arrested corporators in connection with the builder Suraj Parmar suicide case.

A notification to this effect was issued late on Thursday by Joint Commissioner of Police Ashutosh Dhumre.

The SIT will be headed by the Additional Commissioner of Police Crime Makarand Ranade and will include ACP Dileep Gore (who is currently the investigating officer in the case) and also Bharat Shelke, who has served the ACB in the past.

Thane police also appointed eminent lawyer Raja Thakare as the special public prosecutor in the case.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The four accused corporators of Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC)– Najeeb Mulla and Hanumant Jagdale (both NCP), Vikrant Chavan (Congress) and Sudhakar Chavan (Maharashtra Navnirman Sena) have been charged under section 306 of the IPC and also various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and are currently behind bars.

Parmar, a leading builder, shot himself on 7 October, 2015. His suicide note alleged that a nexus of corporators and officials was harassing him for bribes.

Thane Police had registered a case of abetment of suicide under IPC and criminal misconduct under Prevention of Corruption Act as the purported suicide note named these four corporators.

The prosecution said that the corporators have been named in the suicide note written by Parmar, who also blamed the system and red tape besides the interference and harassment by the civic officials and politicians.

PTI

CBI gets Governor’s nod to prosecute Ashok Chavan in Adarsh case

Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao on Thursday gave sanction to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to prosecute former chief minister Ashok Chavan in the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society scam.”The sanction has been given under section 197 of the CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure), for offences under sections 120-B (conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of IPC (Indian Penal Code) in the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society case,” the Raj Bhavan said in a release to the media.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The decision comes days after the BJP-led government in the state recommended action against the Congress leader, and against the backdrop of the arrest of former MP Sameer Bhujbal, nephew of NCP leader Chagan Bhujbal, on money laundering charges.The joint director, CBI, Mumbai, through a letter dated October 8, 2015, had sought the permission to prosecute Chavan on the basis of additional or fresh material, namely the report of Justice Patil Commission of Inquiry and the observation of the High Court of Bombay in the criminal revision application number 136 of 2014.Chavan, a Lok Sabha member from Nanded, had to step down as chief minister after the scam surfaced in 2010. He was among the 12 persons chargesheeted by the probe agency in connection with the case.CBI had alleged that Chavan suggested inclusion of civilian members in Adarsh Housing Society, meant for war veterans and widows of defence personnel, to secure flats for his relatives in the plush complex situated at Colaba in south Mumbai.With the Governor granting permission to the premier investigating agency, the only question now discussed in the political circles is will Chavan get the backing of the party high command to continue as party state chief or will he have to step down.While a section of the party leaders feel that the party cannot afford embarrassment at this stage another section in the party feels that the party high command should firmly back Chavan’s claim that the CBI action is a fall-out of political vendetta, by the BJP governments at the Centre and in the state.Speaking to mediapersons in Palghar, Chavan said the case was nothing but political vendetta. He said that when the previous Governor had rejected the permission to CBI how much appropriate is a change in Raj Bhavan decision soon after the change of guards in state and at the Centre.In December 2013, the then Governor K Sankaranarayanan had refused sanction to CBI to prosecute Chavan in the Adarsh housing scam, leaving the agency with no choice but to close the case against him.Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Sachin Savant said that it was surprising to see that even though there are no new evidences nor any new inquiry, the Governor has given his nod.He alleged that it was after wrote a letter to state Government it is beyond anyone’s grasp as to how can state Government approach CBI for prosecuting Chavan.Meanwhile, BJP MP Kirit Somaiya, who took up the issue again after Fadnavis government assumed office, welcomed the decision and said that previous Governor K Sankarnarayanan in December 2013 had taken a wrong decision, which has now been rectified.

Will Chavan hold Congress leadership guilty of vendetta politics? asks BJP

BJP hit out at former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on Thursday over his “vendetta politics” remarks, asking if he also holds the Congress leadership guilty after they removed him from the post over the same charges.BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli also took a dig at Congress leaders for being in the “thick” of scams and corruption all the time.”That is a strange comment of vendetta politics by Ashok Chavan. He should recall that he was removed from his post by the Congress leadership on the same allegations. Does he first hold his party leadership guilty of vendetta politics against him? He should take a stand on that,” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Attacking Congress, he asked, “why is it that Congress leaders are always caught in the thick of scams and allegations of corruption”.Countering Chavan over his vendetta politics charge against BJP, Kohli said “everyone is entitled to proving their innocence on the basis of facts and evidence instead of adjectives and counter-allegations”.CBI on Thursday got Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao’s sanction to prosecute Chavan in the Adarsh Housing society scam case, a move which the Congress leader dubbed as “vindictive” action by ruling BJP in the state.Chavan said “The (Justice Patil) committee’s report is absolutely clear that there was no reservation for land for any Army personnel and the land belonged to the state government. This is just a vindictive attitude of the BJP.” He alleged that the BJP was putting “political pressure” on the CBI to take action against him at the behest of some members of the party.

Adarsh scam case: CBI gets Maharashtra Governor’s nod to prosecute former CM Ashok Chavan

Maharashtra Governor Vidyasagar Rao on Friday gave sanction to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to prosecute senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan in connection with the Adarsh Housing Society corruption case.CBI had last month approached the Governor seeking permission after it reportedly got ‘fresh evidence’ against Chavan in the case.In December 2013, the then Governor K Sankaranarayan had refused sanction to CBI to prosecute Chavan in the Adarsh housing scam, leaving the agency with no choice but to close the case against him.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chavan had earlier said, “The BJP Government is using CBI for political vendetta. We will make our next move considering legal recourse available.”Chavan, who had to resign as Chief Minister after the scam surfaced in 2010, was among the 12 persons who were charge-sheeted by the agency in connection with the case.CBI had alleged that Chavan suggested inclusion of civilian members in Adarsh Housing Society meant for war veterans and widows of defence personnel, to secure flats for his relatives.CBI had first approached a trial court seeking to drop Chavan’s name as an accused on the ground that the Governor had refused to sanction his prosecution. As the CBI court rejected it, the agency moved the Bombay High Court.The High Court too dismissed CBI’s application last November observing that the Governor had refused sanction for prosecution for conspiracy charges under the Indian Penal Code but he can still be prosecuted under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Mumbai: BMC takes the lottery route to fill plum posts

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is playing lottery. Not for any jackpot. But to choose officers for plum posts.Last week, executive engineers SS Chavan, AB Bhoir and deputy chief engineer YS Dalvi were posted in the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) using the lottery system.The BMC logic is that the new system will introduce transparency, reduce lobbying and political pressure.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BMC chief Ajoy Mehta, who initiated the lottery postings, has also asked his staff to check engineers’ track record on corruption charges and pending inquiries.According to civic officials, apart from the SRA, the Building Proposal (BP) and Vigilance departments are the most sought-after by engineers.The SRA and BP departments are considered plum since they deal with building construction and real- estate proposals while the vigilance department oversees all civic work.”The BMC has sent three senior engineers to SRA. There is hectic lobbying and political pressure. This time, there were over two dozen applications. However, the BMC chief directed us to hold a lottery of eligible engineers,” said a senior civic official.”For lower level appointments, there is an exam. These postings are made on the basis of the exam results and seniority. For senior posts like executive engineer and deputy chief engineer, there is no exam. So, we held a lottery.”According to the new system, any civic engineer who wishes to apply for the post must have some prior experience in that department since it is a highly technical job. However, they must not be posted in the same department,” the official explained.”This system will help boost transparency as we don’t have to pick and choose. We will extend it to other departments if there are many eligible candidates for the same post. We will see if there is any pending or previous Anti-Corruption Bureau inquiry (ACB) or any other case before the posting. This is a fair mechanism,” Mehta told dna.Former bureaucrats have welcomed the move. “Conceptually, the lottery is a fair system and a good idea. MHADA uses lottery to give flats, so why not for postings? It will put an end to favouritism and nepotism. The engineers won’t be able to complain of discrimination, too. Political interference will reduce as well,” said former BMC chief V Ranganathan.However, former BMC chief Subodh Kumar expressed caution. “It’s good that there will be transparency. However, in a lottery, one can’t be sure if the best man is being posted. The BMC must verify the integrity and character of the applicants before making the appointments, especially when sending engineers on deputation to SRA. Even if there is no lottery, political pressure or influence must not play any part in postings and appointments,” he said.Soon after taking over, Mehta had pulled the plug on post-retirement appointments in the BMC. After it came to light that post-retirement appointments had cost the BMC Rs 2.38 crore, Mehta terminated such appointments.

Congress, NCP to work as watchdogs on Pune’s smart city scheme

While the remarks by Union minister for urban development M Venkaiah Naidu that citizens would have to pay more taxes for being part of smart city has evoked strong reaction from citizens, Congress and NCP would work as watch dog on the smart city scheme when it comes to Pune city.The general body meeting of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), in December 2015, gave its nod for participation in the smart city scheme and Pune stood second in the competition held at the National level after Bhubaneshwar. While BJP has its guardian minister for the district as well as Lok Sabha MP for the Pune city constituency, they would ensure implementation of the scheme. BJP does not have majority in the PMC which would be crucial while implementing the smart city Pune project.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP city unit president Anil Shirole, who is also the Lok Sabha MP for Pune, has expressed happiness over inclusion of Pune city in the list of smart cities and said that he was insisting for the same right from the beginning. Pointing out that he had promised it in his election promises, he said that the city of Pune has vigilant citizens and vigilant society only can achieve the goals in scheme like smart city. He said that smart city is all about improving the city to show the example for other cities when it comes to providing all the services and improving the life of common man in the city. He said that technology would play crucial role and people of Pune have understood importance of being part of this project and that is the reason they have supported it with overwhelming response.NCP city unit president Vandana Chavan said that even though NCP has agreed for the inclusion of city in to the scheme, what government is doing is selecting a small part of the city which is already smart. She pointed out that Balewadi, Aundh and Baner were the areas which have a population of around 40 thousand were selected to become smart cities and Union minister Naidu has revealed, two days back, that citizens would have to pay more taxes which is nothing but cheating people.Chavan said that taxing people of the entire city for providing efficient services to a selected part of city was unjust. She said that they should have selected the challenged areas from any of the slum or Peth (old) areas as pilot for the scheme. She added that NCP would not oppose the scheme as such but wants more transparency and NCP has a demand that PMC commissioner should not be SPV president. Instead, she said that some other officer should handle it since other than making the city smart in a limited areas during the pilot project, the development work is getting hampered for the other parts for last two months.Congress spokesperson MLC Anant Gadgil said that Congress would welcome if something good for the city of Pune is happening but would raise concerns if it is happening for only 40 thousand citizens from areas which are already developed. He said that instead the government should concentrate on old buildings and replicate Mumbai model for redevelopment in Pune. Both Chavan and Gadgil said that merely deploying technology for locating bus routes could not make Pune a smart city.Gadgil pointed out that even chief minister Fadnavis also has indirectly said that people would have to pay more if they want efficient services. He said that Fadnavis has said it indirectly since it can evoke strong reactions.

Adarsh case: BJP pressurising CBI, says Ashok Chavan

After the Maharashtra Cabinet recommended to Governor C Vidyasagar Rao that he grant sanction to CBI to prosecute Ashok Chavan in the Adarsh scam, the former Chief Minister on Friday alleged that the BJP was pressurising the probe agency to implicate him in the high-profile case.The CBI had approached the Governor seeking sanction to prosecute Chavan after it got “fresh evidence” against him in the case, following which Rao wrote to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to elicit the opinion of his Council of Ministers.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Filing of FIR has already taken place. The issue now is limited to state cabinet recommending to the governor that permission for prosecution be given,” he said.”BJP MP Kirit Somaiya has made baseless allegations. He is not a legal expert. He has always done this,” Chavan said.”He made baseless allegations that it was Rahul Gandhi who ensured that the then governor didn’t grant sanction for prosecution. Somaiya should give proof of Rahuljis involvement in this,” he added.”Somaiya is not an astrologer to claim that the Governor will take such and such action. The Governor is a constitutional authority. What new has happened after the then governor refused to grant permission to prosecute me? CBI is under BJP’s pressure,” Chavan said.”BJP’s attempt is to ensure that there is no fair investigation in the case. This is a case of political vendetta going on in the country by some BJP leaders. Be it Oommen Chandy or Digvijay Singh, BJP wants to target Congress leaders,” he said.”We won’t be cowed down by such attempts. We will continue to highlight corruption by BJP government. CBI has no connection with the Adarsh Commission report,” he said.”I will take legal opinion on this issue and proceed accordingly. Why is there a U-turn (by CBI) after change of government. The pressure on CBI is so great that even court directives are overlooked,” the MPCC president said.Yesterday too, Chavan, a Lok Sabha member from Nanded in Maharashtra, had alleged that the CBI is being misused against the Congress.Chavan, who had to resign as Chief Minister after the scam surfaced in 2010, was among the 12 persons charge-sheeted by the probe agency in connection with the case.CBI had alleged that Chavan suggested inclusion of civilian members in Adarsh Housing Society meant for war veterans and widows of defence personnel, to secure flats for his relatives in the plush complex, situated at Colaba in south Mumbai.In December 2013, the then Governor Sankaranarayanan had refused sanction to CBI to prosecute Chavan in the Adarsh housing scam, leaving the agency with no choice but to close the case against him.

Adarsh scam: CBI may get nod to prosecute Congress state chief; Ashok Chavan terms it vindictive

The Maharashtra cabinet has recommended to governor C Vidyasagar Rao that sanction be granted to CBI to prosecute former chief minister Ashok Chavan in the Adarsh scam case.The Congress leader, expressing shock over the ‘shocking’ and ‘illegal’ decision, has dubbed the decision as part of the BJP-led government’s ‘vendetta politics’.The CBI had approached the Maharashtra governor, seeking sanction to prosecute Chavan, after it got “fresh evidence” against him in the case, following which Rao wrote to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to elicit the opinion of his council of ministers.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP leader Kirit Somaiya MP told mediapersons in New Delhi that the governor’s nod to prosecute Chavan is expected soon as the state cabinet has already conveyed that it is in favour of such a step.It was Somaiya who wrote to Rao, Fadnavis and the CBI director on March 13, 2015 that since the HC had refused to drop the name of Ashok Chavan from the list of the accused, CBI must investigate the case and the governor must re-examine the decision of his predecessor not to grant prosecution permission.”We have been raising issues they are not comfortable with – like its performance, price rise, inflation, farmers’ suicide – and we will continue to do that,” Chavan told mediapersons in New Delhi.”Their (BJP leaders’) attitude is not new to us. When the previous governor (K Sankaranarayanan) had declined sanction for prosecution after consulting…the solicitor general, on what ground has the permission been granted now,” Chavan asked.”The CBI is being misused against the Congress,” Chavan, the Lok Sabha member from Nanded, said.Chavan, who had to resign as Chief Minister after the scam surfaced in 2010, was among the 12 persons charge-sheeted by the agency in connection with the case.The CBI had alleged that Chavan suggested inclusion of civilian members in Adarsh Housing Society meant for war veterans and widows of defence personnel, to secure flats for his relatives in the plush complex, situated at Colaba in south Mumbai.

CM quota flats to be sold in Mhada May lottery

The Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (Mhada) has wrote to the state government, asking to be allowed to sell the apartments under the chief minister quota in its May 2016 lottery. The apartments under the quota have not been allotted since 2010.According to senior Mhada officials, a total of 450 apartments under the CM quota are to be allotted since 2010. “Most of these apartments are in suburbs, including Ghatkopar, Dahisar, and Versova. Most of them were constructed before 2010 and remain vacant till now. Therefore, Mhada wants to add these flats in its May 2016 lottery,” said an official, on the condition of anonymity.Joint chief officer of Mhada’s Mumbai Board, Chandrakant Dange, confirmed the development. Every year in May, Mhada sells its flats through lottery.After the Adarsh co-operative housing scam controversy, former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan gave away his discretionary power of allotting flats to eminent personalities, actors, freedom fighters and journalists under the CM quota. This discretionary power, however, was misused and most flats were allotted to relatives of the politicians and those close to the power.According to Mhada rules, 49 per cent Mhada flats are allotted for reserved category applicants, while 2 per cent are is reserved for the CM quota applicants.”Mhada is planning to bring a large number of flats under Mhada lottery in May, so that maximum number of people can fulfill the dream of owning a house. Most Mhada flats are at available at an affordable rate,” said senior Mhada official.Besides regular construction of affordable houses, Mhada has also decided to redevelop the BDD chawls, spread across 94 acres. After this redevelopment, Mhada will able to get 13,000 additional flats, besides rehabilitating the local tenants.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>