The Pune police have booked a Trust, commercial establishments and prominent businessmen including Vinod Goenka, KM Goenka and Shahid Balwa for allegedly cheating and misleading the judiciary and state revenue department by submitting forged papers to claim 326 acres of prime land in Yerwada area.
Following the police complaints, opposition leader in the state Assembly Eknath Khadse demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigations in the land allotments. He said the state police would not do any progress in the investigations because the FIRs were filed four years after the matter was raised by him in the legislature. “The cover-up has already started. I request the state government to recommend a CBI probe in this matter and other 115 cases of similar nature that together caused a loss of Rs. 70000 crore to the state exchequer.”
Acting on the complaint filed by activist Ravindra Barhate on July 21, Shivaji Nagar police filed an FIR against K M Goenka, Vinod K Goenka, Shahid Balwa, Mukunddas Murlidhar Lohiya, Bansilal Kabra, Khushalchand Chandak, Purushottam Lohiya, Ramesh Kabra, Niranjan Hiranandani, Hills Side Constructions Ltd, D B Realty Pvt Ltd, Panchashil Tech Park, Premsagar Hotels Ltd and Mukund Bhavan Trust.
Khadse had authorised Barhate to seek information under the Right to Information, which he later used for discussing the matter in the lower house in the past four years.
Khadse claimed Pawar’s daughter and Member of Parliament Supriya Sule and her husband Sadanand Sule had stakes in some companies (they relinquished their shares later on) when they were allotted the land. In connection with the Yerwada land, Khadse claimed that though the government owned the land, it vacated its ownership. “Then district collector, who later joined NCP, forged documents in 1989 to approve Mukund Bhavan Trust’s claim on 326 acres though the government had in 1951 approved ownership claim of 3.26 acres,” said Khadse.
The case goes back to 1989 when Mukund Bhavan Trust, despite not registered with the Charity Commissioner, acquired revenue rights over land from the state government. The revenue rights were handed over to Trust during the tenure of Sharad Pawar as chief minister and NCP leader Shriniwas Patil as the Pune district collector.
Patil, former MP, is currently governor of Sikkim Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule is a minority shareholder in Panchshil tech park.
The two accused Vinod Goenka and Shahid Balwa have been facing charges in the 2G scam According to FIR, accused connived to fraudulently claim government land as "soil grant entitlement" in the name of Mukund Bhavan Trust to extract various permissions as well as concessions, by misrepresenting it as a registered public charitable trust.
According to Barhate, the accused indulged in criminal act in order to partially utilize the land for commercial purpose. The police while refusing to comment on the case said accused have been booked under sections 463, 464, 467, 468, 471 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code.
Barhate said that by cheating the government and courts, the accused have utilized land, worth thousands of crores, for building IT park, hotel and other commercial projects.
Khadse said he had submitted documents related to 116 illegal land transfers to the state government. “The CM took four years to initiate action. The government did not even respond to the Central Vigilance Commission’s letter for conducting inquiry.”
The BJP leader said he would approach Prime Minister Narendra Modi and union hime minister Rajnath Singh for seeking CBI investigations. “The Union government can very well ask CBI to probe the deals of defence-related land in Pune. The state government, if willing, may also recommend a CBI probe,” he said.