It took eight years for the Maharashtra Congress to put the car it had handed over to its Panvel unit for party work back on the road. While the party has managed to bring back the car, its new owner – another Congress office bearer – is now spending his own money to get the vehicle refurbished.
During the last days of the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) government, the then Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, in August 2014, had distributed 22 Scorpio cars to district presidents of the party. The aim was to use the cars to expand the party base in the district presidents’ respective areas.
“While taking the review, we could not locate the car given to Panvel city unit. Upon inquiry, it was found that the car was not in the use of party related works. We received reports that it was on a private stone quarry. We decided to call it back,” said a senior official from the Maharashtra unit of the Congress.
Former Panvel Congress president R C Gharat, who had received the car, told The Indian Express that he had his own fleet of cars and did not need the one given by the party for travel purposes. “I use my own cars for my work and party related work. I have my business and don’t require cars from my party for business purpose,” said Gharat. Gharat said that he had called the party state headquarter asking the office bearers to take back the car.
After the state unit office received the car, it was handed over to Abhijit Patil, the new president of the Panvel Congress, last week.
“Except for the engine, the car was damaged so much that I will now have to spend around Rs 1.75 lakh to make it run smoothly,” Patil said.
“It is an old car, but it has been given to me by my party. I own different cars but I will ensure that it will be used for its intended purpose as much as possible,” Patil added.