New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday called for the immediate sacking of Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan over the alleged allotment of flats in Mumbai meant for Kargil war heroes to politicians, bureaucrats and military officials. It also demanded an enquiry by a Supreme Court judge.
The demand came a few hours after Chavan met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and offered to resign, leaving it for her to take the final call.
But the BJP seemed unimpressed with the offer of Chavan, whose mother-in-law and two other relatives have allegedly got flats in the Adarsh Housing Society meant for families of soldiers killed in the 1999 Kargil conflict with Pakistan.
"No sentimental ownership can be accepted. No way. The BJP demands the chief minister immediately resigns or be removed immediately," party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters here.
The scandal is "the most unethical, heartless and shameless" as the houses were meant for widows of Kargil veterans, she said.
"Here is a wonderful case of how select group of politicians, bureaucrats and high-ranking defence officials were directly involved. All of them were together and bent rules and regulations to use the land," she added.
"It is clear that the chief minister`s family has benefitted. They had four flats allocated to them. Why is the Congress party keeping silent. They should state their position clearly. The Congress should instantly remove him," Sitharaman said.
She said the government should also order a probe headed by a Supreme Court judge. "The inquiry should be completed within a stipulated time span so that we know what has gone wrong. This has to be done within a time frame."
The spokesperson said the central government should also look at ways and means to protect land and property reserved for defence and railway personnel.
"We just cannot be watching this kind of misuse (of property given to armed forces)," she said.
Sitharaman also asked the central government to invoke the Defence of India Act - a British era act which is for the purpose of securing public safety.
"The security of the nation is being harmed as the building is located in a highly-sensitive area. Its occupancy should be cancelled," she said. The high-rise building faces important Army and Navy installations.
The BJP leader also said the initial enquiry by the defence ministry shows there was a collusion between politicians and high-ranking generals. "They have underlined, highlighted and warned about the nexus," she added.
Earlier, Chavan told reporters that he told Gandhi: "I am here, my resignation is also here. I leave it to you to take a final view."
The scandal has raised a stink, with some senior military officers who got flats claiming they did not know it was meant for "Kargil martyrs".