12 November 2010

Prithviraj Chavan's Mr Clean image has been put to the test

In less than 24 hours since he took oath as chief minister of Maharashtra, Prithviraj Chavan's Mr Clean image has been put to the test. An RTI activist has revealed that the CM bought a property meant for the weaker section of society, worth Rs 40 lakh in Wadala for a mere Rs 4 lakh, but did not mention it in his affidavit submitted during the Rajya Sabha elections.


“When MiD DAY visited Venus building, we found Prithviraj Chavan's name on the society's notice board and that the society dues for flat 201 were paid till March 2011. The flat is on lease.”

The documents (copies of which are with MiD DAY) reveal that Chavan had stated his average monthly income as Rs 76,000 and was allotted the flat in Bhakti Park, building no 12, measuring 1032.7 sq ft on May 20, 2003. RTI activist Anil Galgali, who obtained the documents, adds that while Chavan, who was an MP based in Delhi, had quoted his monthly income as Rs 76,000 in the application, the ration card copy issued in his late mother Pramilabai Dajisaheb Chavan's name showed the annual family income as just Rs 1 lakh.

However, for a family to fall under the weaker section the annual income should have been under Rs 1.5 lakh in 2003. And Chavan's income clearly was far more than that. The price of the said property was over Rs 40 lakh, but Chavan was allotted the flat for a mere Rs 4 lakh under the 5 per cent quota of the chief minister, reveals the RTI. Ironically, the chief minister in question was none other than Sushilkumar Shinde, who has been accused of clearing the Adarsh housing file during the same period (2003).


Interestingly, in the affidavit submitted in the 2009 Rajya Sabha elections, Chavan does not mention any details about his Wadala property. Though his assets mention about property in Delhi valued over Rs 1.1 crore.

Galgali said, "The only reason to file an RTI in December 2008 was to get the list of people who had obtained flats under the chief minister's quota. I had information about rampant misuse of the scheme to benefit certain people from well-to-do families depriving the rights of poor."

He added, "Initially the Urban Development Department were reluctant to share information. I had to then challenge it in appeal and finally after two months in February 2009, I got the list of beneficiaries since 1984 to Feb 2009, including names of journalists, freedom fighters, politicians, artists, etc."

"It is a mere coincidence that I had sought the details of Chavan, as I knew he was with the PMO office and based in Delhi. On checking the documents, I found the irregularities and hence decided to expose it," said Galgali.

A person having an annual income under Rs 1.5 lakh can apply for a house under the weaker section of society chief minister's quota (2, 5 and 10 per cent) schemes


In an affidavit submitted before the 2009 Rajya Sabha elections, Prithviraj Chavan claimed he had assets (houses) valued at Rs 1.1 crore in Delhi. He does not mention about the Wadala property.

In an application for the Wadala flat, Chavan claims his monthly income as Rs 76,000, whereas his mother's ration card (which has Chavan's name as well) claims an annual family income of Rs 1 lakh


Numerous attempts made by MiD DAY to get comments from Prithviraj Chavan did not yield any result. His personal assistant Bharat Mane confirmed to MiD DAY that the message was conveyed to the CM and he would revert back with his statement, but at the time of going to press, there was no response from either the CM or his office.

Meanwhile, the CM's cousin Punjabrao Chavan denied that Chavan ever had any property in Mumbai. "He (Chavan) has never discussed about any such property that he owns in Mumbai."

(From mails circulating in mailing lists, based on the news in media)

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