Congress and NCP leaders sought housing minister Prakash Mehta’s resignation in the state Legislative Assembly on Wednesday for his alleged role in a dubious land deal. Leader of the Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil alleged that Mehta had returned a 18,902-sq metre plot at Pantnagar in Ghatkopar to private developer Nirmal Holding Pvt Ltd. Patil said that the land had been allocated to the builder in 1999, but MHADA (Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority) took it over in 2006 as the builder had not redeveloped it.
Mehta is already under a cloud over alleged irregularities in a slum redevelopment project at the MP Mill compound in Tardeo. Patil demanded that Mehta be dismissed from the Cabinet, pending an inquiry and pointed to how senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse had to step down after a controversy over the purchase of land in Bhosari by his kin.
“The government is shielding a corrupt minister,” charged Patil.
Congress and NCP legislators also rushed to the well of the house and shouted slogans, forcing adjournments. They later staged a walkout.
Mehta’s troubles were not limited to just the House proceedings. A clarification that was purportedly issued on behalf of Mehta mentioned that he was being targeted with an eye on his ministerial berth and apart from the Opposition, his own colleagues in the party were behind the campaign against him. As this made his position worse, Mehta denied having issued any clarification to this effect and made a fresh one.
“I have sought appointment with the party president Amit Shah,” he told DNA. “I hope to soon get it.” Mehta has also approached the Commissioner of Police seeking an inquiry into a letter being circulating in his name, which alleged that his own party members were supplying information against him to the Opposition.