Oppn corners Maha government over SC remarks against Deshmukh
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Last Updated: Thursday, December 16, 2010, 23:35
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 in 2006.

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 payers.

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 "political consideration".

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.


First Published: Thursday, December 16, 2010, 23:35

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