BJP seeks answer on Deshmukh’s continuance in ministry

Monday, February 7, 2011

NEW DELHI - The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday sought an answer from the government over Rural Development Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh continuing in the ministry in the wake of critical remarks made by a sitting Supreme Court judge.

The Congress, however, sought to downplay the remarks by Justice A.K. Ganguly, who had expressed dismay that the central government allowed Deshmukh to continue in full glory despite being slammed by the apex court two months back for abusing his powers as Maharashtra chief minister to shield a money lender from criminal action.

Justice Ganguly made the remark at a seminar in Mumbai last week.

BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said: “There is reprimand from the Supreme Court. He still continues to be a minister… we demand an answer from the government, she said.

Justice Ganguly had called Deshmukh’s shift by the United Progressive Alliance government from heavy industries to rural development “a shameless act”.

The Supreme Court had in its Dec 14 judgement termed Deshmukh’s behaviour as incongruous and had enhanced the fine of Rs.25,000 imposed by the Bombay High Court on the Maharashtra government to Rs.10 lakh.

The apex court passed the judgment while dismissing the state government’s appeal challenging a high court order which had held that Deshmukh acted in violation of the law by using his influence as chief minister to prevent the police from registering a criminal case against a Congress legislator’s moneylender father.

Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed gave a stock answer to a volley of questions over Deshmukh’s continuance.

We have seen the remarks of the sitting judge. I do not want to go into arguments,” Ahmed said, adding that legal experts will look into the case concerning Deshmukh.

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