CM washes his hands off as infighting within NCP starts

Mumbai : Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan seems to have chosen to remain a mute spectator on the current controversy over an Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) investigation against PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal while Bhujbal’s own party – the NCP – bicker amongst themselves.

CM washes his hands off as infighting within NCP starts

 The ACB cannot officially inquire against Bhujbal since the CM, it has been learnt, has not yet sanctioned ACB’s  request for an inquiry which is currently pending with the Chief Secretary.

 Apparently, both Congress and NCP are trying to create confusion over the issue just to prolong the official sanction.

 In fact, serious infighting has come to fore within the NCP over this issue. As per sources, it is now clear that Bhujbal himself played a part in leaking the information to the media that the inquiry has been given a go-ahead by the CM. It was an action taken in haste after BJP leaked an RTI response which revealed that the state government was sitting idle on the letter of permission sought by ACB.

 The NCP, meanwhile, is consciously delaying a decision on the issue to embarrass Bhujbal. Therefore Bhujbal, acting secretly, managed to leak Additional DG (ACB) Ramrao Wagh’s letter, dated 6th September, which says that a discreet inquiry has been commenced against Bhujbal. But sources in the government have claimed that till the CM himself sanctions such an inquiry against a minister, it cannot be initiated.

 Earlier, Home Minister R.R. Patil while claiming that his department has no relation with this inquiry, admitted that ACB had indeed started a secret inquiry. “This secret inquiry is like a primary inquiry. This will check the agreement with Chamankar builders for Maharashtra Sadan. It will check whether Chamankar can sub-contract the supply to other companies. The report of this preliminary inquiry will be submitted to Home Ministry, Then opinions of ACS(Home) and PWD department would be sought. Based on this, state government will take a decision whether to start or not an inquiry,” Patil had claimed. He had also refuted news reports that he had signed the file to initiate such an inquiry.

 However, when asked, Chavan indirectly cornered Patil by saying that Home Ministry had cleared the file. “It’s an open inquiry. I don’t have this file and I don’t know anything,” the CM said while refuting Patil’s claim that the inquiry was secret.

 The ACB had sought permission to conduct a probe, in a letter to the additional chief secretary (Home) on July 18, following allegations by BJP leader Kirit Somaiya that Bhujbal misused his official position to award contracts for the Maharashtra Sadan building in Delhi to firms owned by his relatives.

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