Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) spokesperson Nawab Malik has come all out to defend party chief and Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar.
On Thursday, former IPS officer YP Singh accused NCP chief Sharad Pawar of Lavasa scam. Saying that Singh was looking for cheap publicity, Malik added that the land given for the project in Lavasa, a hill station near Pune, followed all legal procedures. “YP Singh is trying to support BJP president Nitin Gadkari,” he said.
Malik added that activists Anna Hazare, Vishwambar Chaudhary and Medha Patkar had filed a petition in the Lavasa case and the YP Singh was the lawyer for them. “If YP Singh is the lawyer in the same case, then why he is conducting a media trial? Malik asked.
“Only 12 acres was given for Lavasa project and no construction can be carried out on the rest of the land. After Independence, no hill station was developed in Maharashtra and Sharad Pawar wanted to build one. That is why he supported the project,” Malik said.
He refuted allegations of secret meetings being conducted to pass the project. “No secret meeting was conducted and that the late former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and officials of the urban development department were present for the meetings, minutes of which were in public domain,” Malik said.
He said NCP leader Supriya Sule’s husband had no connection with the Lavasa project and that he had sold all his shares. “Besides, there is a Supreme Court judgment on the issue and another case is pending in the high court, then why is the issue being raked up now.”
Malik demanded that the period of rein of the saffron alliance government be included in the irrigation white paper.
“The white paper on irrigation should also include the period in which the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance government ruled the state,” he added.
He also demanded that the white paper cover all irrigation corporations formed in the state not only during the NCP’s charge of the irrigation department but also when the saffron alliance ruled the state.