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Probe in alleged minister-underworld nexus: M'tra CM

By Staff
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Mumbai, Mar 13: Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh today (Mar 13, 2006) informed the Legislative Assembly that he would make a statement on action against Minister of State for Home Siddharam Mhetre's alleged underworld links, after a detailed probe into the matter.

Speaking in Lower House, Deshmukh said if the audio tapes submitted by the police in the court contained the Minister's conversation with gangsters, there would have been no need of an inquiry.

''But, it is inappropriate to take action against a Minister on the basis of a conversation between two gangsters. One cannot take action just on the basis of a conversation between any two people. Merit and facts need to be ascertained before going for any action,'' he said.

Deshmukh said, ''The entire audio cassette needs to be played to find out whether any more names come out of it.'' BJP leader Gopinath Munde said the Chief Minister'' seems to know details about the tape'' and wanted to know when the Government would come clear on the names. To this Deshmukh said, ''This is a seven-week long session".

Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai read out the transcript of the tape and submitted a copy to Speaker Babasaheb Kupekar. He also criticised the government for shielding the Minister.

Munde and Leader of the Opposition Ramdas Kadam alleged that the Government was applying different yardsticks while dealing with allegations against NCP and Congress ministers and mentioned that NCP ministers Suresh Jain and Nawab Malik were asked to resign even before allegations against them were proved.

The Opposition members also raised slogans against the Government for not sacking Mr Mhetre and Animal Husbandary Minister Anees Ahmed, who has been booked under the Atrocities Act for allegedly abusing and attacking the PA of a Congress MLA.

Earlier, the issue of the alleged underworld links of a minister was raised by Mr Kadam and was supported by Mr Munde, Wamanrao Chatap of Shetkari Sangathan and Narsayya Adam of CPM.

UNI

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