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Chavan to stay or go? Sonia, Pranab debate his fate

Last updated on: November 1, 2010 12:07 IST

Chavan to stay or go? Sonia, Pranab debate his fate

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A decision by the Congress party on Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan's resignation in the wake of an embarrassing housing scam in Mumbai is expected to take some more time.

"On Sunday, I had said that we require more time to study the documents and report to the Congress president. That position continues," Pranab Mukherjee, head of the two-member committee including Defence Minister A K Antony, told reporters after a meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

The senior party leader said that in the meeting with Gandhi, the Maharashtra issue was not discussed.


Image: The Adarsh Society

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Meanwhile, the embattled chief minister left for Mumbai early on Monday morning. Speculations are rife in political circles that Chavan had stayed put in the capital to meet Mukherjee who returned to Delhi late on Sunday evening from West Bengal.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, whose ministry's clearance was also an issue in the matter, also joined the meeting. The parleys come a day ahead of the All India Congress Committee meeting in Delhi. Chavan had offered to resign on Saturday during a meeting with Gandhi in connection with the scam over the controversial Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society, which was built on a land meant for widows and veterans of the Kargil war.


Image: Ashok Chavan

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Gandhi had asked Mukherjee and Antony, who is also in-charge of party affairs in Maharashtra, to look into the matter and submit a report. On his return from Kolkata, Mukherjee held a meeting with Antony on Saturday night and had said that he would require some more time to go through the documents related to the alleged scam.

"I will require more time to go through the papers and, therefore, it would not be possible for me or Mr Antony to say anything right now," Mukherjee had said.

There were reports that more Congress and Nationalist Congress Party leaders, including three former Maharashtra chief ministers -- Union Heavy Industry Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and current Revenue Minister Narayan Rane -- and Maharashtra minister Ajit Pawar, nephew of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, had links with the controversial upscale project


Image: Vilasrao Deshmukh

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Deshmukh, Rane and Pawar denied the allegations of any links, saying they had not recommended any cases for allotment of flats in the 31-storey housing complex while Shinde accused the media of making a hue and cry over the issue.

Questions were also being raised in the chief minister's camp as how action can be taken against Chavan on the issue when other Congress leaders from Maharashtra were also allegedly involved.


Image: Pranab Mukherjee

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