Nagpur: Maharashtra Assembly on Thursday witnessed
noisy scenes as an aggressive Opposition pressed for a
statement from the government over Supreme Court`s remarks
against Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh for shielding a
Congress MLA in a money-lending case.
Deshmukh was the Chief Minister at time of the incident
Opposition members shouted slogans and trooped into
the well of the House. Deputy Speaker Vasant Purke, who was in
Chair, adjourned the House for 10 minutes.
When the House reassembled, the din continued and
treasury benches rushed to finish the business as today was
the last day of the winter session.
Panel Speaker Sadashivrao Patil adjourned the proceedings
for 30 minutes. The House was adjourned for the third time for
20 minutes as the protests continued.
As soon as the House assembled for the day, Opposition
Leader Eknath Khadse raised the issue, saying the then Chief
Minister had violated the oath of office by favouring MLA
Dilip Sananda, who was engaged in money lending business, by
asking the police not to arrest his father in a criminal case.
By doing so, he had clearly violated the Constitution
and therefore the ruling combine should come out with a
statement on the whole affair, Khadse demanded.
Subhash Desai (Shiv Sena) said the apex court has imposed
a fine of Rs 10 lakh on the state government in the case and
the financial burden will automatically fall on the tax
Nitin Sardesai (MNS) and others also joined the issue
and demanded a clarification from the Congress-NCP government.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harshwardhan Patil said
the government had not yet received a certified copy of the
judgement and hence it was unable to comment.
Devendra Phadanvis (BJP) termed the minister`s
explanation as "a lame excuse" and said the judgement posted
on the Supreme Court`s website itself was a certified copy.
But Patil stuck to his position and said on receipt
of certified copy, the government would seek opinion of Law
and Judiciary Department and then only offer its comment.
The Opposition continued its slogan shouting and
displayed banners. Sensing trouble, the Chair adjourned the
house for half an hour.
On December 14, the Supreme Court upheld the Bombay
High Court judgement of interference by Deshmukh in the case
in which MLA Sananda`s father was to be arrested. The then
CM`s personal assistant called the police officer concerned
in Buldana District and asked him not arrest senior Sananda.
The apex court said the action of Deshmukh was
condemnable as he acted beyond "all legal norms" for
The incident goes back to May 2006, when some cases
were registered by the farmers of Vidarbha alleging the MLA
and his family were torturing the ryots for recovery and
extracting 10 per cent monthly interest for lending loans.
It was stated that as many as 34 complaints were lodged
against the MLA and his family till June 28, 2006. But due to
Deshmukh`s interference no subsequent cases were filed by the
police, forcing the farmers to move the HC.