At a time when the lavish wedding of a Maharashtra minister's children has come under the scanner, it now emerges that almost half the ministers in the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party government have flouted Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan's directive to declare assets.
NCP minister Bhaskar Jadhav has come under scrutiny following the recent lavish weddings of his children at Chiplun, leading to reprimand by party chief Sharad Pawar and prompting the Income Tax department to conduct searches at his properties.
Despite a directive from Chavan, first in 2010 and another in 2011, only 55 per cent of Maharashtra ministers have declared their assets so far, an RTI query has revealed.
In December 2010, Chavan had asked his ministers to declare their assets and liabilities.
In April 2011, he sent a reminder but so far, only 22 out of the 40 ministers in the state ministry have given details of their assets to the CM's office, RTI activist Anil Galgali said.
Galgali had sought details of the ministers and assets declared by them to the CM's office.
Under secretary and Public Information officer P P Gosavi informed him that only 22 ministers have declared their assets.
Prominent among those failing to declare their assets are Industry Minister Narayan Rane, Home Minister R R Patil, Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat, Rural Development Minister Jayant Patil and Cooperation and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harshvardhan Patil.
Bhaskar Jadhav, who holds the urban development portfolio as minister of state, has also not declared his assets, Galgali told PTI.
Those who have declared assets include Chavan, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, Forest Minister Pantangrao Kadam, Water Resources Minister Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar and School Education Minister Rajendra Darda.
Other ministers declaring assets include -- Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil (Agriculture and Marketing), Shivajirao Moghe (social justice), Laxman Dhoble (water supply and sanitation), Babanrao Pachputhe (tribal development), Suresh Shetty (health), Sanjay Deotale (environment), Sunil Tatkare (water resources), Anil Deshmukh (food and civil supplies), Manoharrao Naik (food and drugs administration), Hassan Mushrif (labour), Varsha Gaikwad (women and child welfare) and Madhukar Chavan (animal husbandry, dairy development and fisheries).
Also, ministers of state including -- Fauzia Khan (school education), Rajendra Gavit (tribal development), Padamakar Valvi (sports and youth welfare) and D P Sawant (medical education) have declared their assets.
Galgali said, those ministers who are yet to declare assets include Ganesh Naik (excise), Naseem Khan (minority affairs), Jaydutt Khisrsagar (public works), Dr Vijaykumar Gavit (medical education and horticulture), Dr Nitin Raut (employment guarantee) and Rajesh Tope (higher and technical education).
The defaulters also include following ministers of state: Satej Patil, Sachin Ahir, Ranjeet kamble, Prakash Solalnkhe, Gulabrao Devkar and Rajendra Muluk.
"The public information officer has not shared details of ministers' assets saying they were submitted to the CMO in a sealed format," Galgali said.
Galgali has written to Chavan, seeking action against ministers who are yet to submit the declaration of their assets.
"Those ministers who have not declared their assets have no morals. They are supposed to do that even during elections. If the central government ministers can declare their assets, what stops these people?" he said.
Galgali said almost 45 per cent ministers not declaring their assets reflects poorly on Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.