Pranab, Antony meet Sonia; discuss Chavan`s fate

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday held consultations with senior party leaders on the fate of Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan who has been embroiled in an upscale housing society scam in Mumbai.

Last Updated: Nov 01, 2010, 11:50 AM IST

New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi
on Monday held consultations with senior party leaders on the fate
of Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan who has been
embroiled in an upscale housing society scam in Mumbai.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister AK
Antony and senior party leader Ahmed Patel met Gandhi here
and are understood to have discussed the matter.

The meeting took place even as the embattled Chief
Minister left for Mumbai early this morning.

Talk in the political circles was that Chavan had stayed
put in the capital to meet Mukherjee who returned here late
last evening from West Bengal.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, whose ministry`s
clearance was also an issue in the matter, also joined the
meeting. The parleys come a day ahead of the AICC meeting
here.

Chavan had offered to resign on Saturday during a
meeting with Gandhi in connection with the controversial
Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society which was supposedly meant
for widows and veterans of the Kargil war.

Gandhi had asked Mukherjee and Antony, who is also
in-charge of party affairs in Maharashtra, to look into the
matter and submit a report.

On his return from Kolkata, Mukherjee had a meeting with
Antony last night and had said that he would require some more
time to go through the documents related to the alleged scam.

"I will require more time to go through the papers and,
therefore, it would not be possible for me or Mr Antony to say
anything right now," Mukherjee had said.

There were reports that more Congress and NCP leaders
including three former Maharashtra chief ministers -- Union
Heavy Industry Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Union Power
Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and current Revenue Minister
Narayan Rane -- and Maharashtra minister Ajit Pawar, nephew of
NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, had links with the controversial
upscale project.

Deshmukh, Rane and Pawar denied the allegations of any
links, saying they had not recommended any cases for allotment
of flats in the 31-storey housing complex which stands on the
land supposed to be meant for Kargil war heroes and widows
while Shinde accused the media of making a hue and cry over
the issue.

Questions were also being raised in the chief minister`s
camp as how action can be taken against Chavan on the Adarsh
issue when other Congress leaders from Maharashtra were also
allegedly involved.

PTI