Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said on Tuesday the government expected Lavasa's hill city project near Pune to meet the conditions laid down by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and go ahead with the project.

The Ministry recently asked Maharashtra to take “necessary action” against Lavasa Corporation Ltd. for starting construction on 681 hectares of land without obtaining environmental clearance.

Talking to journalists here, Mr. Chavan said: “There are 34 conditions. Our expectation is that they [Lavasa] should fulfil those conditions and continue work, because it is a big project.”

Mr. Chavan had a one-on-one meeting with Ajit Gulabchand, Chairman and Managing Director, Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), which owns Lavasa Corporation Ltd. (LCL). He said the meeting discussed how to find a way out in the light of the MoEF's order.

The Chief Minister said the Centre's Expert Appraisal Committee visited the site several times four months ago. “It recommended there was no problem in giving approval to 2,000 hectares of the project. We will look into what the MoEF has said. Taking action does not necessarily mean demolition,” he said.

Mr. Chavan who also met Supriya Sule, MP, said, the meeting discussed the “development works.”

Dey's murder

A day after Assistant Commissioner of Police (Zone I) Anil Mahabole, whose name figured in connection with the murder of crime journalist J. Dey, was transferred, Mr. Chavan said he had not signed any transfer order for the officer.

“According to the rules, any proposal for transfer has to come to me. I have not received any proposal for [Mr. Mahabole's] transfer, nor have I signed it.” He said there was “nothing to show” Mr. Mahabole was linked to Dey's murder.

Asked about a 2007 Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) report, which names the officer in connection with a case of bribery, the Chief Minister said the government was discussing the report.

Mr. Chavan, who called for an informal interaction with journalists, said that while there was no update in the Dey murder case, the police “are making progress every day and are very close to reaching [a conclusion].” The agency was working along five to six angles, he said.

In response to demands for a probe by the CBI, he backed the Mumbai police saying they needed to be given time to investigate. “I have told them to seek the help of other agencies, even the CBI, if required.”