Just days after ousted revenue minister Eknath Khadse spoke on a debate on corruption in the state assembly giving himself a clean chit and taking pot shots at BJP leadership for his resignation, fresh allegations have been levelled against him by activist Anjali Damania.
In a letter rebutting Khadse’s speech on Tuesday, Damania has alleged that the senior BJP leader and his immediate family acquired 123 acres of land in contravention to the Maharashtra Agriculture Lands (Ceiling Act) 1972. The law prohibits holding of more than 18 acres of irrigated land and 54 acres of dry crop land by a family.
The letter sent to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Chairman of the Legislative Council along with all legislators of both the Houses, has also called for an independent probe into all the allegations made by her starting with acquiring of the excess land owned by Khadse’s family.
Damania has alleged that while Khadse inherited 12 acres of farm land from his father, he acquired 123 acres of land over the years including 23.11 acres in his name, 68.15 acres in his wife Mandakini’s name, 6.15 acres in his daughter Sharda’s name and 22. 1 acre in his other daughter Rohini’s name (the land is daughter’s name was brought in 2001). The property records or the 7/12 extracts have been attached with the letter.
Khadse refuted the allegations but refused to go into its merits. He told HT, ``I don’t want to say anything further on this. BJP workers have filed 36 criminal defamation suits against Anjali Damania in various courts and one of the clauses in this is that she should give evidence to back her allegations. So instead of writing letters for publicity it will be better if she moves the right authority with her so called accusations like the court of law, election commission etc.’’
The letter has also alleged that Khadse had undervalued his total assets in the election affidavit filed by him. The letter states that over and above the 123 acres of farm land, nearly 83.21 acres of farm land in Satod village in his constituency, Muktainagar in Jalgaon, was brought in the name of his wife Mandakini and other kin and converted for non agriculture use. This land was carved into 1037 plots.
While the election affidavit of Khadse before 2014 assembly elections takes into account the plots in his and his wife’s name, their valuation, Damania alleged was falsely lowered. The activist compared the value ascribed to these plots in the affidavit at approximately Rs 26 per square feet to the three sale transactions carried out by the Khadse’s in the same year where the per square feet value was at around Rs 351. ``The total valuation of these plots in the affidavit have been shown false (lower) by approximately Rs 42 crores,’’ states the letter.
One of the conditions given for allowing NA use of the plot was that it should be developed in one year, states the letter but this was not followed with the land remaining vacant till date.
The other allegations include pocketing of open spaces plots for educational institutions controlled by the senior leader including Ganpatrao Khadse ashram school, Godavaribai Ganpatrao Khadse Science and Kusumtai Madhukarrao Choudhari Commerce and Arts for nominal rates like Re 1 for 30 years lease etc. The activist alleged that totally 24.39 acres in gaothan areas had been pocketed for institutions controlled by the Khadse family.
Khadse in his speech last week had slammed Damania and other activists in unparliamentary language for making unsubstantiated allegations against him. He had also taunted Chief Minister for taking cognizance of such allegations and destroying his 40-year political career.
Despite repeated calls, speaker Haribhau Bagade was not available for comment on the letter as the assembly was in session till late night. Chairman of the Legislative Council, Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar told HT, ``I have just received the letter and will go through it before taking any decision on it.’’ Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also did not respond to text message sent by HT on the matter.