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Minister of state held for role in Rs 46 crore scam

Author: Prafulla Marapakwar
Publication: The Times of India
Date: May 22, 2012
URL: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-05-22/mumbai/31813826_1_jmc-affordable-houses-cabinet-member

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and minister of state for transport and agriculture Gulabrao Deokar was on Monday arrested by the Jalgaon police for alleged involvement in a 15-year-old Rs 46 crore mass housing scam, in a major embarrassment for the Sharad Pawar-led party.

 Deokar is the first cabinet member in Maharashtra who has been arrested while in office. He was later released on a personal bond.

Deokar will continue to be a cabinet member as his resignation has not been accepted by the party. "Deokar submitted his resignation but since he has been released on bail, we will wait for the outcome of the court proceedings,'' state NCP president Madhukar Pichad said.

 Deokar is among 90-odd accused, including former housing minister and senior Shiv Sena legislator Sureshdada Jain, arrested by the police. While Jain has been granted interim bail owing to ill-health, most former councillors have been released on bail.

 The Jalgaon municipal council (JMC) controlled by Jain had in 1997 floated tenders for the construction of 11,000 affordable houses in the city, even though the construction of houses was not on its mandate. While 11 builders submitted tenders, the JMC at the last moment amended basic conditions, as a result of which only Khandesh Builders, a front for Jain and Golani Developers, remained in the fray. Golani's tender was rejected on technical grounds.

 When it was found that a loan secured from the housing and urban development corporation was illegally transferred to the name of the firms controlled by Jain, leader of the opposition Eknath Khadse demanded a high-level probe.

 JMC's then chief executive officer, Pravin Gedam, on February 3, 2006, lodged an FIR against 90 councillors, who were JMC members between 1995 and 2006. When the contract was granted, Deokar was JMC chairman.

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Who is the Deokar?

- Gulabrao Deokar (55) is a contractor by profession

- Elected to the Jalgaon municipal council in 1995 and was chairman in 1999

- Founder- chairman of Sureshdada Jain College of Engineering, Jalgaon

- Jalgaon District Central Cooperative Bank Vice-Chairman

- Elected to state assembly as NCP nominee from Jalgaon (rural) constituency in November 2009

- Inducted into cabinet as Minister of state with a record 10 portfolios
 
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