Chavan back home, Pranab says panel needs time (Lead)

November 1st, 2010 - 2:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Pranab Mukherjee New Delhi, Nov 1 (IANS) The Congress party panel set up to go into the Adarsh housing scam needed some time to examine the documents, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Monday as Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan returned home to Mumbai.

“We will require some time to study the documents. After that we will be in a position to report to the Congress president (Sonia Gandhi),” Mukherjee said after meeting Gandhi along with Defence Minister A.K. Antony, the second member of the party panel.

Mukherjee said the meeting at Gandhi’s 10 Janpath residence was “only related to the All India Congress Committee (AICC) special session to be held here Tuesday”.

Chavan, who last week offered to resign over the housing society scam and was camping in New Delhi since Friday, left for Mumbai Monday morning and no decision on his fate or alleged role likely soon, Congress sources said.

Chavan had a 45-minute meeing with Gandhi Saturday during which he explained the situation and offered to resign.

He said he told the Congress president: “I am here, my resignation is also here. I leave it to you to take a final view.”

He told reporters he briefed her about the controversy related to the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society whose flats were originally meant for families of soldiers killed in the 1999 Kargil war with Pakistan.

“I have kept the truth in front of her… The truth should come out so that we can find out who all are responsible.”

Among others, Chavan’s mother-in-law and two other relatives are reported to have got the multi-crore worth flats in the housing society located at a prime locality in south Mumbai.

The controversry has raised a stink, with some senior military officers who got flats claiming they did not know it was meant for “Kargil martyrs”.

Antony, who is in-charge of the party affairs in Maharashtra, and Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Gandhi, were also present at Saturday’s meeting.

Chavan and his wife Amrita met Patel to explain the allotment of the flat to Chavan’s mother-in-law, party sources said.

Soon after meeting Chavan, Gandhi constituted a two-member team of senior ministers Mukherjee and Antony to probe the allotment of flats in the Adarsh society.

Party sources said no decision on the matter was likely soon, indicating that any final call may be taken only after Diwali. The ensuing visit of US President Barack Obama to Mumbai Nov 6-7 may be another reason to delay any decision on Maharashtra, they added.

Though Chavan has returned to Mumbai, he is likely to return to the national capital to attend the AICC session scheduled for Tuesday, party insiders indicated.

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