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Pranab, Antony to probe Mumbai high-rise scam

Last updated on: October 30, 2010 15:14 IST

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has asked Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Defence Minister A K Antony to investigate the scam surrounding the Adarsh Society in Colaba, Mumbai, and to submit a report to her at the earliest.

Congress sources said on Saturday that Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan would continue in office till the submission of the report and the action taken thereof.

The decision to form a two-member probe committee was taken after Chavan met Sonia Gandhi. Gandhi is reported to have had consultations with both Mukherjee and Antony, giving them their brief on the matter.

Speculation is rife that Minister of State for Science and Technology and the Prime Minister's Office Prithviraj Chavan is one of the frontrunners for replacing Ashok Chavan at Mantralaya.

Chavan on Saturday offered to resign over the scam that has erupted about the construction of a high-rise building in a posh area of Mumbai.

Chavan told reporters after meeting Sonia Gandhi that he had offered to tender his resignation and the Congress president will take a final call on the matter.

"I welcome the probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the matter. We are open to any inquiry. All the facts about the issue will come out after the probe," said Chavan.

Earlier, Sonia met Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, political secretary to the Congress president Ahmed Patel, All India Congress Committee general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi and Union minister Prithviraj Chavan over the issue.

The Congress high command appears to be upset with Chavan, whose mother-in-law and two other relatives are among the 103 members of the controversial Adarsh Housing Society project in which several politicians, former defence service chiefs and other influential people have been allotted flats. The land, on which the 31-storey building in posh Colaba in south Mumbai was built, was reportedly meant for Kargil war heroes and widows.

The decision to summon Chavan to the capital for a meeting with the Congress chief comes despite his announcement on Friday that flats allotted to his mother-in-law and two other relatives were being surrendered.

The move has obviously not impressed the party leadership. Chavan had been involved in clearing papers for the upscale high-rise Adarsh building project in his previous capacity as the revenue minister.

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