The much-publicised inquiry on land grabbing by politicians in prime localities in Nagpur has begun by the one man committee—Justice RK Batta—in Nagpur on Monday.
Justice Batta, a former judge of Bombay High Court arrived in Nagpur on Sunday and commenced work of the one-man committee that was set up by the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court in response to a public interest litigation, filed by the former legislator Sunil Shinde revealing gross abuse of power by the competent authority and beneficiaries.
The grabbing of surplus land of ULC by politicians came to the fore when the former legislator and the then chairman of Nagpur Housing and Area Development Board, (a regional unit of MHADA), Shinde filed a PIL before the Court, pointing out how MHADA land which was obtained from ULC Act to construct houses for weaker sections, was handed over to an educational institution, run by the powerful politician and Guardian minister of Nagpur, Satish Chaturvedi.
Initially, the Court appointed the high profile former bureaucrat, Arun Bhatia to probe the irregularities. However, the state government objected his appointment by questioning his impartiality. "Bhatia has reasons to grind an axe with the government and those in the government," the state said.
Bhatia had contested parliamentary elections from Pune and during the campaign he had targeted the government and its functionaries, the counsel of state government pointed out and requested the court to replace him. And finally, the Court appointed Justice Batta to probe the matter.
While appointing the one-man enquiry committee, the Court also left it to the discretion of Batta to examine various aspects co-related with all implementation of the Act and the allotment of surplus land, which, in his, opinion, would assist the court in deciding the petition.
The court said that it would also scrutinises all allotments made by the competent authorities under the ULC Act to assist the court in verifying whether the lands, which are declared surplus under the said act have been utilized for the object and purpose for which the said act enacted and that the allotments are done in accordance with law.
The committee has already sought details of 58 cases from the competent authority appointed under the ULC Act.