The office of the Pune collector had written to the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) in March 2012, asking it to take over a 1.21-hectare plot in Pune by compensating its owner Abbas Ukani. Though this information was available with his department, revenue minister Eknath Khadse did nothing to stop his wife Mandakini and son-in-law Girish Chaudhry from buying the plot from Ukani on April 28 this year.
The letter, written by deputy collector of the land acquisition department in the Pune collectorate, stated that 42 years after a notification was issued under the Maharashtra Industrial Development Act, 1961, the land had not yet been acquired. It also stated that the compensation Ukani was seeking under the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, was incorrect as the notification has been issued decades ago, and that he should be compensated at the rate of Rs 6,000 an acre.
An MIDC official, who did not wish to be named, said, “Khadse knew that the land acquisition process had not been completed and the owner had not been compensated. Apparently, when Ukani approached him seeking compensation, instead arranging for lawful compensation, he stuck a deal to buy the land off him.”
He added, “It is not right to claim that the acquisition process lapsed two years after the notification was issued in 1971, according to a government resolution issued in 1995, as the MID Act has no such provision. The process was still open and the landlord can be compensated through negotiations.”