Devendra Fadnavis slaps defamation notice on Congress leader

Mumbai, Feb 26: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has slapped a defamation notice on senior Congress leader Manikrao Thakre for his allegations pertaining to nepotism to favour his wife, banking professional Amruta Fadnavis, his lawyer said on Friday.

A former state Congress chief and home minister, Thakre has been asked to tender an unconditional apology within two weeks for his statements failing which Fadnavis would resort to further legal measures, said advocate Govind Sovani.

Accroding to Sovani, Thakre had addressed the media on Wednesday in Nagpur, and resorted to "false insinuations to tarnish the image of Fadnavis".

Thakre had questioned a decision by the Maharashtra Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA), headed by Fadnavis, ordering all developers of slum pockets to open bank accounts with the private sector Axis Bank, of which his wife is deputy vice president, transaction banking.

The rationale behind the move was to ensure that all developers deposited the rental amounts due to the slumdwellers on time, as there have been many complaints of default by the developers, said Sovani.

Last year, the SRA had issued a guideline asking all developers to open a separate bank account for every SRA scheme and to transfer the due rents through that accounts electronically for the benefit of the slumdwellers, but complaints of non-compliance continued.

Meanwhile, Sovani said that the Axis Bank offered a scheme to open Special Accounts for Developers with zero balance and no cheque facility to ensure that the entitled slumdwellers got their rents regularly, within 48 hours after it was deposited by the developer.

He added that the Axis Bank has already been conducing business with several governmental departments and agencies as per directives of the central government issued in July 2011.

In the notice, Sovani said neither Fadnavis or his wife were in any manner concerned with the SRA directive and Thakre's allegations amounted to defamation.

Thakre has been asked to retract his allegations along with an unconditional apology within 15 days failing which Fadnavis would initiate criminal/civil defamation proceedings.


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