MUMBAI: If corruption in the civic body could be rooted out, prices of flats in Mumbai would fall by at least Rs 500 per sq ft, said anti-corruption bureau director general Pravin Dixit on Saturday.
"I have been told by an MP that if we can stop corruption in the BMC, flat prices in Mumbai will be reduced substantially," Dixit said during a lecture at Pandharpur in Solapur.
Bristled by the claim, the Shiv Sena, which controls the civic body, has demanded that Dixit should provide proof. "He must show proof to substantiate his claim. If he fails to provide the documents, then the chief minister should take action against him for making irresponsible statements," a senior Sena leader said.
But Dixit confirmed to TOI that he made the statement based on information given to him by a Lok Sabha member. "My remark was based on specific information. I would also like to point out that it is not a good sign for India that it stood 84th on the list of corrupt nations in the world," Dixit said.
Former minister and senior NCP leader Jeetendra Awhad has latched onto Dixit's comment, reiterating his demand for a probe into fraudulent practices at the municipal corporation. "Dixit is among the most respected and honest IPS officers in the country. Since he has made a specific complaint on rampant corruption in the BMC, I feel chief minister Devendra Fadnavis should order a judicial probe into it," Awhad told TOI. He said that based on Dixit's statement, it could be safely said that the Sena-ruled BMC was involved in a Rs 5,000-crore graft. "Around 1 crore sq-ft area is built in the metropolis every year. From what Dixit has cited, there has been corruption worth Rs 5,000 crore in the past five years," he said.
A senior IPS officer said now that Dixit had made the statement, he had a greater responsibility. "Dixit can record the Lok Sabha member's statement and accordingly, initiate a probe into the corruption in BMC," he said.