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Ghai land allotment row: BJP says Deshmukh must quit

Delhi,Business/Economy,Immigration/Law/Rights,Politics, Thu, 05 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 5 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday sought union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh's resignation following the Supreme Court's observation that land allotment to filmmaker Subhash Ghai in Maharashtra for his film academy during Deshmukh's term as chief minister was not transparent.


"The way in which he had allotted land for a media baron, which was stuck down by the high court and subsequently by the Supreme Court, Vilasrao Deshmukh has no moral authority to be in cabinet... he should step down," said BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman.


The Supreme Court Wednesday dismissed an appeal by Ghai's Mukta Arts Ltd challenging a Bombay High Court verdict cancelling the allotment of 20 acres of land in Goregaon for his film academy.


Science and Technology Minister Deshmukh of the Congress was the Maharashtra chief minister at the time of the allotment. The apex court said the land was allotted with Deshmukh's signatures.


Quoting media reports about the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) indicting Deshmukh for preferential allotment of a plot in Mumbai to a trust founded by him, Sitharaman said: "(There is) no way you can justify his continuance in the cabinet."


"The BJP demands his resignation and if he doesn't step down then prime minister should remove him," she added.


Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said: "Let the report be tabled in the state assembly and then we will react."


The CAG report, yet to be tabled in the state assembly, was leaked to media Thursday.


The Communist Party of India (CPI) also demanded stringent action against the defaulters.


"It is a serious matter and investigative agencies must take serious note of these reports and pursue the matter effectively and nobody should be allowed to go scot free," said CPI leader D. Raja.


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