Mumbai: Had Ajit Pawar`s return to Maharashtra cabinet been extended by a few weeks, he would have ended paying more "rent" to the state government than he did, during the 72 days he was away from power, an RTI query has revealed.
After announcing his resignation as deputy chief minister on September 25, Ajit Pawar continued to stay in his official residence Devgiri at Malabar Hill and paid Rs 5 per sq ft as "rent" to the government, till he rejoined the cabinet on December 7, RTI activist Anil Galgali said.
Galgali, chairman of the Athak Seva Sangh, obtained the information through a query under the RTI Act.
According to a government circular in 2006, a minister can stay free in the official residence till 15 days after his resignation, Galgali said.
If he continues to stay there till three months, beyond these 15 days, he has to pay a rent of Rs 5 sq feet to the government, he said. If he stays beyond three months, he is charged Rs 15 per sq feet, Galgali added.
"Pawar had resigned on moral grounds after allegations of massive irregularities in irrigation projects in Vidarbha during his stint as state water resources minister, but he never showed same morality by giving up his official bungalow," Galgali said.
Pawar stayed in Devgiri from September 30 to Oct 14, 2012 free of cost, Galgali said.
After that period Pawar was enjoying this sprawling premises at a rate of Rs 5 per sq feet, he said. This rent includes furniture, gas, water, telephone and electricity bill, he added.