Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Tuesday denied putting pressure for the sale of a prime piece of police land in Yerawada area to a private builder, and said it was the government's decision to do so.
The minister was denying claims made by former Pune Police commissioner Meeran Borwankar that a minister had tried to pressure her into signing off on the deal.
While accepting that he had called the police officer in connection with the plot, Pawar said he had never done anything that could cause loss to the government.
Project cancelled by Maha govt
The project, Pawar said, was cancelled by the Maharashtra government as the private party that was supposed to implement it got embroiled in an Enforcement Directorate (ED) case.
Without naming Borwankar, Pawar said: “Some people are claiming that because they opposed the project, it was cancelled. The claim was made in a book and at a press conference in Delhi on Monday. This is not true. The ED had taken action against the company in a particular case and therefore the state government decided to cancel the project.”
District guardian minister responds
Stating that he had indeed met Borwankar, Pawar said, “As the district guardian minister, I am supposed to review the implementation of various projects. When the district officials told me that the police commissioner had opposed the Yerawada project, I called her for a meeting. At the meeting, she said she did not agree with the project. I said that was fine.”
“I might be strict but I am never rude to IAS and IPS officers. You can get this verified from officers,” he said.
Pawar accused of losing his cool
Borwankar had alleged that Pawar had lost his cool and had thrown the map of the project on the glass table placed between the two.
“I neither held any meeting nor signed any paper. It was done as per the policy of the state government, which had issued a government resolution for using vacant police land in Pune for the benefit of police personnel. It was the home department which had appointed a six-member committee. The committee had top police and district officials as its members. The committee took six months to decide about the project. The home minister, the additional chief secretary, the divisional commissioner and the police commissioner were involved in this project. I was nowhere in the picture,” Pawar said.
Pawar added, “Even the then divisional commissioner, Dilip Band, has told the media in Pune that Ajit Pawar was not involved in the case. He has said that it was entirely the decision of the home department.”
Pawar said the IPS officer might have written about the deal to get publicity for the book. “I am told that some retired officers do such things to get publicity for their books. I am told that before publishing the book, retired IPS and IAS officers have to take permission from their departments.”