The axe finally fell on Nationalist Congress Party leader and Maharashtra Minister for Urban Transport Gulabrao Deokar after the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court on Monday rejected his bail application in a housing scam case.
Justice T. V. Nalavade also rejected his plea that he be granted four weeks to move the Supreme Court.
Following the decision, the NCP has decided to oust the scam-tainted minister from its party ranks.
Mr. Deokar, along with Shiv Sena legislator Suresh Jain, was arrested in May this year for their involvement in the 15-year-old multi-crore Jalgaon housing scam. Mr. Jain, along with most other corporators against whom charges were levelled, was released on bail that month.
Despite a criminal case filed against him, Mr. Deokar, who first became a Minister in 2009, remained in the Cabinet while holding on to his party position.
Speaking to The Hindu, NCP State president Madhukar Pichad said he had spoken to Mr. Deokar and asked him for his resignation. “There is no need to read too deeply into the incident... it was a collective party decision and the Minister… has complied,” Mr. Pichad said.
The Rs. 46-crore scandal dates back to 1996 when Mr. Deokar, the presiding officer of the Jalgaon Municipal Corporation, gave the nod for a project for building 11,000 low-cost houses.
While the project never saw the light of day, it transpired later that the tender-awarding processes were tweaked to ensure that M/s Khandesh Builders, a company fronted by local politicians, including Mr. Jain, got the contract.