Fad­navis faces tough task; more al­le­ga­tions against his min­is­ter

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com Bhadra Sinha bhadra.sinha@hin­dus­tan­times.com

There’s more trou­ble in store for newly in­ducted labour min­is­ter Samb­haji Patil Ni­langekar and em­bar­rass­ment for chief min­is­ter Deven­dra Fad­navis. The Congress brought to light de­tails of the for­mer’s in­volve­ment in a Rs49 crore non­per­form­ing as­set (NPA) loan case, in which he has been charge sheeted by the CBI.

Fad­navis, who gave a clean chit to his younger col­league in the state as­sem­bly just last week, may now have to face a breach of priv­i­lege mo­tion, with the Congress say­ing it will move the no­tice against him for mis­guid­ing the As­sem­bly.

Doc­u­ments re­leased by the Congress re­veal Ni­langekar was charged with crim­i­nal con­spir­acy in this case by the CBI, along with other di­rec­tors of the firm, Vic­to­ria Agro Foods, which took the loan from the Union Bank of In­dia and Bank of Ma­ha­rash­tra. Con­trary to Ni­langekar’s claims, his role in the case was not lim­ited to be­ing just a guar­an­tor for the loan, but he had a di­rect fam­ily in­ter­est in the firm.

Ma­ha­rash­tra’s dance bar own­ers have moved the Supreme Court against a new law that says ob­scen­ity in dance per­for­mances will in­vite a five-year jail term, but does not clearly de­fine ob­scen­ity. The law de­fines “ob­scene dance” as a dance “de­signed only to arouse the pruri­ent in­ter­est of the au­di­ence”. The pe­ti­tioner also ques­tioned a bar on tipping dancers, call­ing it “ir­ra­tional”.

The Dance Bar Reg­u­la­tion Bill was passed by the As­sem­bly on April 13 and no­ti­fied on April 20. It in­cludes 26 con­di­tions that bar own­ers must com­ply with to get li­cences. Days later, an SC bench headed by jus­tice Di­pak Misra said, “It is bet­ter for women to per­form in dance bars than to beg on the streets or in­dulge in un­ac­cept­able ac­tiv­i­ties.”

The Ma­ha­rash­tra gov­ern­ment banned dance bars in the state in 2005, ren­der­ing an es­ti­mated 150,000 peo­ple — half of them dancers — job­less. The Bom­bay high court struck down the gov­ern­ment or­der in 2006 but the state chal­lenged it in the SC, which al­lowed a stay on grant of li­cence. The top court up­held the high court rul­ing in 2013 be­fore fi­nally lift­ing the ban in Oc­to­ber last year. In its pe­ti­tion to the SC filed last week, the In­dian Ho­tel and Restau­rant As­so­ci­a­tion said the new law was an­other at­tempt by the state to over­ride the SC ver­dict lift­ing the ban on dance bars. It said that de­spite court or­ders, the gov­ern­ment was yet to re­new or is­sue li­cences.

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