<p>The Congress-led government in Maharashtra took an aggressive stand today to checkmate the opposition parties in the legislature by declaring an inquiry by the Mumbai Crime Branch into the leakage of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report for the year ended March 31, 2011.
Home minister R R Patil, amid slogan-shouting by members of the treasury and opposition benches, said the probe would be completed before the monsoon session of the Assembly, when the report would be tabled in the legislature. "I hope the step would serve as a deterrent," he added.
Patil said the leakage of the report of CAG, a constitutional body, was a serious matter and the government was in favour of holding a comprehensive report. A fortnight ago, BJP legislator Devendra Phadanvis had submitted a CD containing the report to the state assembly Speaker.
That stirred up a political storm, as ruling party members, especially ministers whose educational institutions had allegedly received government lands under the 1983 government policy, took objection against the leakage and the subsequent media publicity. Some minister also pressed the need for an outright rejection of the CAG report but it was not possible considering the CAG's constitutional status. An embattled state government took the opinion of the advocate general, who also opined that it was mandatory for the state dispensation to table the report in the legislature and later let the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) discuss it.
The official report, tabled by deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, had castigated the government for "irregularities" in the allotment of land over the past eight years, and lack of moniroting mechanism for its usage. Contrary to the CD and published documents submitted by Phadanvis, the CAG did not mention names of any minister, legislator or bureaucrat. It only referred to the various institutions who "received" government lands.
Today, amid slogan-shouting, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan made a request to the presiding officer to give his directive for the PAC to immediately take up the CAG report for scrutiny and make its recommendations. This was necessary to make the government's position clear, he noted.
Subsequently, presiding officer Nawab Malik gave his ruling asking the PAC to take up the report at the earliest. The opposition strongly objected to this as well as to the directive given by the presiding officer.
Amid high-decibel disturbance, the presiding officer called business for the day, and later adjourned the house for the day.