Both the houses of the Maharashtra Legislature on Monday rocked over the opposition’s demand for the resignation of Agriculture Minister Mr Abdul Sattar following the strictures passed by the Bombay High Court over his decision as the minister of state for revenue during the Maha Vikas Aghadi government about the regularisation of 37 acres of Gairan (grazing) land in Washim district on the name of a private individual. The opposition took aggressive postures in the assembly and council saying that Mr Sattar should resign and if he does not then the Chief Minister Mr Eknath Shinde should drop himself from the cabinet.
Leader of Opposition in the state assembly Mr Ajit Pawar, after his adjournment motion in this regard, was rejected by the Speaker Mr Rahul Narwekar, who said the Minister should be dismissed immediately as the scam is worth Rs 150 crore. In the state council, the leader of the opposition Mr Ambadas Danve demanded Mr Sattar’s resignation and also an inquiry against him.
Mr Pawar quoted the HC order which reads, ‘’ Prima facie Sattar passed the order with the knowledge that additional district judge, Washim, had disallowed the claim of the private person for the continuation of his possession over gairan land. The Washim court had even passed stinging remarks that said a private person was "certainly out to usurp the government land.’’
‘’The decision of the Supreme Court in the Jagpal Singh case and the ruling decision of the state government have been undermined by Mr Sattar. Not only this, the Collector working under the Revenue Minister wrote a letter to the Additional Chief Secretary of Revenue on July 5, 2022 as he felt that the decision taken by the Minister of State for Revenue was invalid. Devendra Fadnavis was the Deputy Chief Minister at that time and his government had come to the power. The Collector had pointed out that implementation of the controversial decision of the minister would be a disrespect to the Supreme Court, but the government did not act on that letter,’’ said Mr Pawar.
Former Speaker and NCP MLA Mr Dilip Walse-Patil demanded that a criminal File case against Mr Sattar should be filed and an inquiry against him be conducted.
‘’The Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister should take action in order to remain honest with the oath taken by the minister,’’ he noted.
Former Chief Minister and Congress legislator Mr Prithviraj Chavan also demanded Mr Sattar’s dismissal from the cabinet till the HC, which has convened the next hearing on January 11, gives himself a clean chit.
Further, Mr Pawar slammed Mr Sattar for allegedly splurging government funds worth Rs 30 crore to Rs 35 crore on organising Agriculture Mela and cultural festival in his Sillod constituency.
The opposition entered the well and shouted slogans demanding Mr Sattar’s dismissal. Many bills were passed amid pandemonium.
Deputy Chief Minister Mr Devendra Fadnavis said the government will examine the high court and thereafter take the necessary action. He appealed to the opposition to allow Mr Sattar, who was not in the assembly, to defend himself. ‘The issue is quasi-judicial. The Supreme Court can grant stays to it. Even one cabinet minister in your government faced similar structures from the high court,’’ he noted.
Mr Fadnavis assured the house that the government would probe Mr Pawar’s charges about the agriculture mela and cultural festival adding that the government would not spare anyone.
Meanwhile, the Speaker adjourned the assembly for an hour amid slogan shouting by the opposition sitting in the well on Mr Sattar’s issue and later the presiding officer adjourned the house for the day.
In the state council, the opposition shouted slogans demanding Mr Sattar’s dismissal. The Deputy Chairperson Ms Neelam Gorhe later adjourned the house for the day.
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