Mumbai: Bharatiya Janata Party leader from Karnataka Ananth K. Hegde sparked off a major political controversy by alleging that in his 80 hours tenure, the former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis "moved Rs 40,000-crore back to the Centre".
This, he alleged, was done to prevent its "misuse" of these development funds by the new Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress government if it came to power.
"A CM has access to around Rs 40,000 crore from the Centre. He (Fadnavis) knew if Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena govt comes to power it would misuse funds meant for development. So it was decided that there should be a drama. Fadnavis became CM and in 15 hours he moved Rs 40,000 cr back to the Centre," Hegde is reported to have said in Uttara Kannada late on Sunday.
He added: "You all know our man in Maharashtra became CM for 80 hours. Then, Fadnavis resigned. Why did he do this drama? Didn't we know that we don't have majority and yet he became CM... This is the question everyone is asking."
Fadnavis immediately rubbished his party colleague's allegations as preposterous and "100 per cent baseless".
"I don't know what he (Hegde) has said... I have not taken any such policy decision as the CM. All such allegations are false," Fadnavis said.
He said as far as the Bullet Train project is concerned, the Maharashtra government has not given to or taken a single rupee from the Centre and the state's role is limited to land acquisition.
"Those who are ignorant of the state-Centre accounting systems make such misleading statements. I call upon the state Finance Department to probe the issue and bring the truth before the people," Fadnavis declared.
Commenting on it, NCP National Spokesperson Nawab Malik said that it is not possible to transfer such a huge amount of Rs 40,000-crore back to the centre, and said this is being spread to hide the BJP's defeat in Maharashtra.
"However, if it is indeed done, then its a gross injustice to the state. It will have serious consequences and result in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's resignation as the flames of this will spread all over the country," Malik said in a strong reaction.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut termed the report as "a backstabbing and treachery with Maharashtra".
Other Sena, NCP and Congress leaders have interpreted Hegde's statement as "casting serious doubts on the integrity and intentions" of the three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi government, and condemned it.
The social media also went viral with the reports today with mixed reactions and some questioning the motives behind the short-lived 80-hour long government which took office on November 23.