The Bombay High Court on Monday granted the Maharashtra government a week’s time, by way of last chance, to file a probe report into the allegations of an illegal land deal against senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse.
On the last hearing in January this year, a division bench comprising Justices Ranjit More and Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi had pulled up the government for its reluctance in initiating a police inquiry into the allegations.
The court had at the time directed the government to file a probe report within four weeks.
On Monday however, government counsel Niteen Pradhan sought additional time of two weeks to initiate the probe and further time to file its report, adding that a judicial committee was already looking into the matter and that the government was waiting for the committee’s report to ascertain whether any corruption charges against Khadse could hold.
The court however, said that it could only grant the state a week more and if the latter failed to meet this deadline, the court would be “forced to pass orders.”
The bench was hearing a plea filed by a social activist Hemant Gavande alleging, among other things, that Khadse had purchased a three-acre plot at Bhosri, owned by Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) in name of his kin for Rs 3.75 crore as against the market price of Rs 40 crore.
Gavande had first made these allegations in July 2016 and Khadse was forced to resign from his post of the state revenue minister soon after. The judicial committee, headed by retired Bombay HC judge Dinkar Zoting was constituted to conduct an inquiry.
Gavande however, approached HC arguing that the state police must act upon the complaint that he had registered against Khadse on the above allegations. He had also urged the court to direct the Central Bureau of Investigation, Central Vigilance Commission, and the Income Tax department to take cognisance of the complaint.