After opposition Congress targetted two of his ministers, Pankaja Munde and Vinod Tawde, for alleged corruption, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has found himself placed in an embarrassing situation once again.
At least three more ministers of Fadnavis’ cabinet have been allegedly exposed for blatant conflict of interests.
A report by Indian Express said that these ministers, including two from Shiv Sena have been directors with private firms, which directly fall under their portfolios.
RoC data also shows that Pankaja Munde and Chandrakant Patil, and BJP Minister of State Pravin Pote Patil and Shiv Sena Minister of State Deepak Kesarkar are also on the board of directors of private firms.
The government of India model code of conduct for ministers says a minister within two months of assuming office shall sever all connection, short of divesting himself of ownership, with the conduct and management of any business that he was interested in before being appointed as minister.
These are their reactions to the charges:
Health Minister Sawant
“How is it conflict of interest if the hospital is a private business not empanelled on any of the government schemes or using any government benefits? A ministerial berth is not life-long. What will a minister eat, how will he bring up his children, provide for his family if he does not have a revenue source? The government doesn’t give ministers money for this. It is fine for ministers to have business interests unless the position is being misused.”
“I have been this company’s director even before I become a legislator or a minister. One needs to have some profession or business. Being an MLA or a minister cannot be called a profession. My company has not had anything to do with the government.”
“Otherwise, it will only breed corruption if ministers are asked to sever business interests and not given adequate salary. Every minister should have a profession or a business.”