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New Delhi, October 30, 2010
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today demanded the immediate resignation of Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and a comprehensive probe by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court into the controversial Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society in Mumbai.
The demand by BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman came hours after Mr Chavan met Congress President Sonia Gandhi here today to apprise her of the facts of the case and also offered to step down from office if she so desired.
The controversy has dominated media headlines in the last few days after it emerged that several civilians, including some of Mr Chavan's relatives, and some top army and navy officials, including three former service chiefs, had been allotted flats in the society that was apparently meant for the families of soldiders killed during the Kargil war.
"The BJP fully recognises the dignity, honour, dedication and commitment of every soldier of the Indian Armed Forces. We hope and demand that nothing is done to dishonour the services or demotivate their rank and file," Ms Sitharaman said.
She urged the Centre to invoke the Defence of India Rules and cancel the housing society's Occupation Certificate.
The party also pointed out that large tracts of land belong to the Army and the Railways and the Government should take immediate steps to provide safeguard and protection of these lands.
Ms Sitharaman said the direct complicity of Mr Chavan had been irrefutably established by documents indicating that he was in touch with the office-bearers of the housing society as the State Revenue Minister in 2000 and that some of his relatives owned flats in the building.
She said that, when the project got its final clearance from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), Mr Chavan was the Chief Minister to whom the MMRDA reported.
She also said that this was the second controversy relating to Mr Chavan after the paid news episode She also said this was the latest in a series of scandals in the United Progressive Alliance government's term in office.
"This a copy book case of corruption and nepotism going hand in hand. Congress politicians bureaucrats, a select group of military top brass and their kith and kin have worked together to bend rules, manipulate clearances and all for this pecuniary gains.
"The irony is that this whole scandal has been shamelessly put up in the name of Kargil war widows and veterans," she said.
"The pecuniary gain to the society members is striking. The society had paid only just over Rs. 16 crore to the state government for this prime land measuring about four acres which individual members will pay only 10% of the going rate in the area. Let us remind ourselves that some of the society members are private individuals who are also relatives of politicians and bureaucrats," Ms Sitharaman added.