MUMBAI: The Congress today welcomed Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis's announcement of staying all the transactions related to the alleged Navi Mumbai land scam, but added that the move also meant "loss of credibility" for him after having denied any wrongdoing in the case.
Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam said Fadnavis' decision to probe the matter judicially and putting the transactions on hold established that there was "huge illegality" in the deal.
The former MP also reiterated the demand for the immediate suspension of the then managing director of City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) Bhushan Gagrani, under whose watch the land deal allegedly took place, as well as Raigad collector, additional collector and the Panvel tehsildar.
The Congress had, last Monday, alleged that the Navi Mumbai land, meant for eight project affected people (PAP) of the Koyna dam and worth Rs 1,767 crore, was given to a private builder for just Rs 3.60 crore.
The opposition party had also claimed that the transaction had the "blessings" of Fadnavis.
While the Congress has been maintaining that the land in question belonged to CIDCO, the BJP has said that it was owned by the state government.
"We welcome the announcement of staying the transactions," Nirupam said in a statement.
"Fadnavis has been denying any wrongdoing in this land scam. But ordering a probe and putting the whole deal on hold establishes that there is huge illegality in the deal... The CM has been exposed. It is the loss of CM's credibility," Nirupam added.
Nirupam also released a fresh document, which he claimed, showed that a CIDCO officer had, on May 2 this year, written a letter to the district collector objecting to the land deal.
"In that particular letter, the CIDCO officer categorically mentioned that the then MD CIDCO (Gagrani) is well aware of the deal... why did Gagrani not stop this illegal deal?" Nirupam questioned.
A day after ordering a judicial probe into the Navi Mumbai land deal case, Fadnavis today announced a stay on all transactions related to it.
Making a brief statement in the Legislative Council, Fadnavis said the land cannot be sold or leased till the judicial inquiry is complete.
He also instructed the revenue department to ensure that no third party interest was created and no further transactions were done in this case till the inquiry was completed.