Mumbai: For the last few days, controversies swirling about Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis's poll participation have intensified.
The first setback came when the Supreme Court ordered a probe into two criminal charges filed against Fadnavis ahead of the 2014 assembly election. The second one was on Saturday when Fadnavis filed his nomination papers from the Nagpur southwest assembly constituency.
On the day Fadnavis filed his nomination, it was observed, the notary paper he had used was outdated. Leaders from other parties raised the matter, including Fadnavis's Congress rival, Ashish Deshmukh.
However, the returning officer (RO), Shekhar Ghadge, had no reservations and accepted the papers. But an error crept into his order. First, it mentioned the name of the notary on Fadnavis's affidavit as Purushottam Moreshwar Sonatakke, instead of Vivek Purushottam.
In trying to fix this error, another error crept into the rejoinder. This time, the notary was identified as Purushottam Narendra Sonatakke, with a request that it be read as ' VP Sonatakke', and the name on the notary seal was VP Sonatakke.
Taking note of these series of errors, Right to Information (RTI) and social activist Shakeel Ahmed wrote to the chief of the Election Commission of India (ECI) Sunil Arora and the state ECI chief, UPS Madan, requesting Fadnavis's candidature be revoked.
"The CM is the head of the state. If he cannot provide accurate documents, how can he look after the people of Maharashtra ?" questioned Ahmed.
Ahmed also stated, Fadnavis has been using his power and position for his own benefit and is trying to hide his real income and properties. He further alleged, as Fadnavis had failed to provide supporting documents for his water, electricity and allowance bills, he was definitely trying to hide something.
"The law must be the same for everyone. There should be transparency as well. This is taxpayer money and we have the sole right to question its use," Ahmed pointed out.
Fadnavis had declared his immovable assets to be worth Rs 3.78 crore, up from Rs 1.81 crore in the 2014 elections. The increase in his assets was mainly due to a rise in the market value of these properties, including land, he declared in his affidavit.