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Ministers assets and liabilities not disclosed by Maha Govt., finds RTI

Thursday, September 14, 2017
By Philip Varghese

In a reply to a RTI query, activist Anil Galgali has received a list of 21 Cabinet and 13 Ministers of State, who have filed details of their 'Assets and Liabilities' with the Maharashtra Government. However, the activist has demanded that the list of the minister's 'Assets and Liabilities' should be disclosed by the Government in a public domain.

In what could be an example of the stark contrast to the working of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government in the centre, the Maharashtra government has allegedly failed to disclose the assets and liabilities of the ministers in the state.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had repeatedly asked his governments in various States to be transparent and had asked each and every minister to disclose their assets and liabilities in the government websites.

However, a Right to Information (RTI) query filed by activist Anil Galgali has highlighted the fact that the BJP-led Maharashtra Government has been skirting the issue of declaring 'Assets and Liabilities' of its ministers, casting serious doubts on its claims of transparency.

This comes as Galgali, in a reply to his RTI query, has received a list of 21 Cabinet and 13 Ministers of State, who have filed details of their 'Assets and Liabilities' with the Government. However, the list of the minister's 'Assets and Liabilities' is not disclosed by the Government on public domain.

“In the list offered to me by General Administration Department (GAD) of the Maharashtra government, names of two Cabinet and three Ministers of State are missing. Out of 23 Cabinet Ministers, Ekanath Shinde (Public Works-Govt Undertakings) and Dr Deepak Sawant (Public Health) have not filed details of their assets. While out of 16 Ministers of State, Sanjay Rathod (Revenue), Dadaji Bhuse (Rural Development) and Ravindra Waikar (Housing, Higher and Technical Education) have not bothered to file such details,” Galgali said.

Galgali has been following up on the campaign of making public the details of movable and immovable properties of public servants, since the tenure of last Congress-led State Government in Maharashtra.

The then Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan of the Congress had published only the names of Ministers on the Government website who had filed their assets. Galgali's efforts with the present BJP-led Government, which took oath since November 2014 to bring information of ministers on public domain, seems to have not been fruitful.

“The present Maharashtra Government has not even bothered to give a proper reply to my queries. This is in stark contrast to working of Narendra Modi Government at the Centre, where each and every minister had filed details of his 'Assets and Liabilities' with the Government and it is also available on the Government Website,” Galgali said.

Galgali, as a part of the campaign to get the assets declared on public domain, sent letters to the Chief Minister on November 14, 2014, March 9, 2015 and on July 28, 2016 on the basis of the Centre and Bihar governments.

In his fourth letter sent to the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Galgali has asked the Chief Minister to declare all Minister's 'Assets and Liabilities' on an online public domain. “Even though I had sent letters on earlier occasions too, the applications file is still lying pending with the Chief Minister Office. This new BJP government's main agenda is transparency. However, it seems like now even they have refrained from making their assets and liabilities public,” Galgali said

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