Vilasrao Deshmukh to sue BJP leader Gadkari for libel

December 19th, 2008 - 11:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNagpur, Dec 19 (IANS) Former Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh Friday threatened to sue Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nitin Gadkari for alleging that he had got tender norms changed to favour a company with which his son is associated.Gadkari, a member of the Maharashtra legislative council which is in session in gthis second capital of the state, Thursday accused Deshmukh of colluding with then public enterprises minister Anil Deshmukh to get a tender notice published for expansion of Pune-Mumbai Expressway from Panvel, 34 km off Mumbai, to Sion in central Mumbai, bypassing the cabinet sub-committee empowered to pass such high-value tenders.

Bringing the issue before the state legislature’s upper house through a calling attention motion, Gadkari alleged Deskhmukh did it to favour a company with which his son and son of central Congress leader Ahmed Patel are associated.

Deshmukh rubbished the allegation and told media-persons he would soon file a defamation suit against Gadkari, who also repeated his allegation outside the legislature.

However, the BJP leader told IANS he was undeterred by the ‘threat’ as he has documentary evidence to show that the cabinet sub-committee meeting was not held before issuing the tender.

Gadkari said Deshmukh issued a directive, through then secretary to chief minister C.S. Sangitrao, to the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) to issue a tender notice within 24 hours inviting for pre-qualification bids for the works.

In the process, the pre-qualification norms were changed to favour infrastructure development major Indiabulls with which Deshmukh’s son Amit and the son of the central Congress leader are associated, Gadkari said.

“The cabinet sub-committee members, including then deputy chief minister R.R. Patil, then finance minister Jayant Patil (who is home minister now), public works department minister Chhagan Bhujbal and irrigation minister Ajit Pawar were completely in the dark when this happened,” Gadkari alleged.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the then secretary to the chief minister C.S. Sangitrao has written to Chief Minister Ashok Chavan regretting the “error” in his communication to the MSRDC that the decision to issue the tender notice was taken in a cabinet sub-committee meeting.

Legislative council deputy chairman Vasant Davkhare is understood to have rebuked Gadkari for going to the press when his calling attention notice was still pending before the house.

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