Post-Rahul remark, Shinde may face trouble

Post-Rahul remark, Shinde may face trouble

The fait accompli on the Maharashtra government on the Adarsh scam report has put Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde among others in a vulnerable position.

The Congress was facing tough questions on the state's action as the party was trying to take the moral high ground in the fight against corruption.

His intervention now puts a question mark on the fate of Shinde and former chief minister Ashok Chavan, who are considered to be one of the few Congress leaders to have a mass base in Maharashtra.

If the government decides to reverse the decision, then Shinde's position in the Union Cabinet may become untenable with Rahul himself giving credence to the contents of the report.

The Congress vice-president had surprised the party on September 27 when he arrived at a press meet of party spokesperson Ajay Maken in Press Club here only to say that the ordinance to provide protection for convicted lawmakers was "nonsense" and that it should be "thrown into a dustbin".

His remarks put Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in an embarrassing position with the Opposition ridiculing him that such statements eroded his authority. This time, Shinde and Chavan could be in Singh's shoes.

The Union Cabinet met within days and decided to withdraw the ordinance. Now it is to be seen how the Prithviraj Chavan-led Maharashtra cabinet implements this decision. Chavan has already said in Mumbai that he will consult his colleagues in the cabinet to decide the further course of action.
The commission was headed by Justice J A Patil and went into the irregularities in allotment of flats located in the posh Colaba area in Mumbai.

The commission had indicted Shinde, Ashok Chavan and the late Vilasrao Deshmukh, all former chief ministers, for "blatant violations" of statutory provisions.

The report came down heavily on those in authority describing the scam as a "bad precedent" which reflected "greed, nepotism and favouritism" by those associated with it.

In the report, Shinde was accused of showing "undue haste" in sanctioning and overlooked objections raised by the finance department.

However, Shinde and Deshmukh were given a clean chit by the CBI but named Chavan in the charge sheet along with 12 others. Recently, Governor K Shankaranarayanan refused sanction for prosecution.

Chavan had legally contested the CBI's decision to name him in the charge sheet saying the agency has to obtain the governor's sanction to prosecute him.

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