Book ex-minister for theft, says activist

Mumbai, July 12 (IANS) A social activist Friday demanded that former Maharashtra minister Laxman Dhoble, accused of stripping his official bungalow here of its fixed and movable assets, should be booked for theft.

Athak Seva Sangh chairman and RTI activist Anil Galgali wrote to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and top civil and police officials highlighting Dhoble's actions after he was dropped last month from the state cabinet as a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) minister.

Dhoble has denied that he indulged in the "theft".

Galgali said the ex-minister for Water Supply and Sanitation had allegedly stripped his official bungalow of all its fixed and movable assets, including curtains and kitchen appliances.

In his letter to Chavan, Galgali wanted to know why the state PWD Department has failed to lodge an official complaint against the ex-minister though a departmental report has been submitted in the matter.

"After the matter was exposed, Dhoble agreed to compensate for all the items, estimated at Rs.700,000. But compensating does not absolve him of the grave crime," Galgali told IANS.

He added that if the case was ignored, it would be tantamount to all thieves citing Dhoble's reasoning to escape punishment if they are caught, and urged Chavan to book the ex-minister to serve as an example to all officials.

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