Senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal, currently on bail, today took part in the Legislative Assembly proceedings after two years and demanded that Reliance Infra be stopped from transferring its power business in Mumbai to a Adani group firm till the government recovered "pending dues".
Participating in the debate on the supplementary demands, the former deputy chief minister attacked the state government over the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission's (MERC's) approval to allow the Reliance Infrastructure to sell its integrated power business in Mumbai to Adani Transmission Ltd (ATL) for an estimated value of Rs 18,800 crore.
Accusing the government of "fiscal mismanagement", Bhujbal said the Reliance Energy (read RInfra) owed the government Rs 2,000 crore in taxes since the last two years.
"Reliance Energy which supplies electricity to Mumbai suburbs owes the state Rs 2000 crore. How is the government going to recover these dues? The government should take a stand that unless the company pays the amount, it will not be allowed to be sold," he demanded.
If an ordinary citizen defaults on payment of bills, the money is recovered from him, however, the companies that default on payment are allowed to go scot free, the NCP leader said, adding that state leaders lack guts to recover these pending dues.
The Maharashtra government had tabled supplementary demands worth Rs 11,445 crore in the Legislative Assembly last week, inviting criticism by the Opposition parties which accused the BJP-led ruling dispensation of financial mess up by incurring huge debt.
"The government can table supplementary demands up to 3 per cent of the total budgetary provisions and the government has crossed that limit," he said.
Bhujbal said supplementary demands worth Rs 1.56 lakh crore had been tabled in the last three years.
"Leaders of the present government used to criticise the then Congress government over supplementary demands when they were in opposition...." he said.
Bhujbal, who represents Yeola constituency in Nashik district, also hit out at the government over expenses incurred for planting of trees and the issues concerning farmers and tribals.
He said the government had failed to fulfill its assurances that roads in the state would be rid of potholes and motorists would not have to pay toll.
Speaking to reporters outside the House, Bhujbal said the transfer of Reliance Infrastructure's integrated power business in Mumbai to ATL should be stopped until the dues are recovered from the company.
Mungantiwar said, "There are only two places for introspection--a hospital bed and a jail. Pandit Nehru wrote 'Discovery of India' while in jail at Ahmednagar fort..Bhujbal was the guardian minister of Nashik district when the Congress-NCP was in power. Why didn't he award the forest rights to tribals then? It's my habit to study (any subject) without going to jail".
Reacting to Mungantiwar's barb, Bhujbal told reporters that he was targetted for raising public issues.
"They are raising the speech given by me when I was in the Shiv Sena and asking me to contemplate in jail and hospital," Bhujbal said.
Bhujbal alleged backward class candidates appearing for the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) exams are denied recruitment from 'open' category which he said is "open to all students irrespective of their caste categories like SC, ST or OBC.
The former deputy CM said he would raise this issue in the House along with other MLAs.
"I have sought a calling attention motion in the House on this issue. The government should find out a solution to this issue," he said.
Bhujbal was released on bail by the Bombay High Court in May this year, after spending two years in jail since his arrest in March 2016.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)