Gulabrao Deokar, Maharashtra Minister of State and Nationalist Congress Party leader, was arrested in Jalgaon district on Monday in connection with a multicrore housing scam.
“The investigating officer had sent summons to him and 19 other accused to be present at the zilla peth police station. Mr. Deokar and the rest were arrested at 11.50 a.m. when they showed up,” inspector Anil Akde told The Hindu on the phone.
Mr. Deokar was charged under Sections 420, 406, 409, 177, 120 (b), 109, and 13 (d) and 13 (ii) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. A special PCA court in Jalgaon remanded him in judicial custody till May 30. It also granted him bail on a bond of Rs. 50,000 and on condition that he would not leave the country.
In the case, there are 53 accused, including Shiv Sena MLA Sureshdada Jain and sitting and former corporators of the Jalgaon Municipal Corporation. Earlier, Mr. Jain too was arrested, but he was given interim bail on medical grounds. Fifteen other accused are also out on bail. Three of the accused are yet to be arrested.
Last month the police filed a charge sheet, and a supplementary charge sheet against Mr. Deokar is on the cards.
Maharashtra NCP president Madhukar Pichad told reporters that Mr. Deokar had already submitted his resignation. “The matter is sub judice . The party will decide on his resignation only after the judicial process is completed.”
The case dates back to 1997, when the corporation came up with a scheme of building 11,424 low-cost houses for the poor. Mr. Deokar was a member of the Municipal Council between 1995 and 2000 and its president for a brief period.
“There was blatant violation of norms from the first to the last step,” said Additional Superintendent of Police Ishu Sindhu.
A loan was taken from the Housing and Urban Development Corporation on forged documents. The money went to the Municipal corporation, which was then siphoned off to Khandesh Builders (which received the tender for construction).
According to the police, Khandesh Builders was owned by Mr. Jain's friends Jaganath Wani and Raju Mayur. The money received by Khandesh was in turn given to two other companies, allegedly owned by Mr. Jain's relatives.
The headquarters of Khandesh Builders was in fact the residence of Mr. Jain. Moreover, it was not the lowest bidder, but terms and conditions were relaxed.
“The core misappropriation of funds is to the tune of Rs. 29 crore,” Mr. Sindhu said.