Activist alleges Pawar scam, questions Kejriwal's silence | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Activist alleges Pawar scam, questions Kejriwal's silence

mumbai Updated: Oct 19, 2012 08:16 IST
HT Correspondent
Arvind Kejriwal

Former IPS officer-turned-lawyer YP Singh on Thursday accused union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar's family of violating norms to lease out 348 acres of government land to the Lavasa hill city project.

He also targeted activist Arvind Kejriwal, saying he didn't highlight the issue despite having documents against the Pawars.

Singh alleged that Pawar's nephew and former water resources minister, Ajit Pawar, gave away the land in 2002 to Lake City Corporation - later renamed Lavasa Corporation - on renewable lease at a paltry Rs. 23,000 per year.

Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule and her husband Sadanand Sule held 20.81% shares in the company at that time, he alleged.

Singh questioned how Lake City shares sold by the Sules in 2006 didn't figure in Supriya's 2009 Lok Sabha poll affidavit that put her wealth at Rs. 50 crore.

YP Singh addresses a press conference at Marathi Patrakar Sangh in Mumbai. HT/Kunal Patil

"In 2008, Lavasa was valued at Rs. 10,000 crore. So in 2006, even if the company's valuation was one-fourth of this, Sule's stake could have fetched her Rs. 250 crore," he claimed.

Singh said the allotment violated the Supreme Court's 1997 verdict that any acquired land not required by public authority had to be disposed of through public auction.

HT was first to report in 2010 how the Lavasa project was under the scanner for environmental and land irregularities.

Singh made no direct attack on Pawar, but said the minister, against all propriety, called a meeting of officials at a Lavasa guesthouse in 2007 to grant concessions to the hill city.

Pawar rejected the allegations, saying: "The state government has the authority to give land as per the hill station policy. Eighty per cent of the land is submerged in water and has seen no construction."

He said the 2007 meeting was called by then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

India Against Corruption refused to be drawn into the allegations.

"We congratulate Singh for the courage shown in exposing Pawar. Sharad Pawar was one of the 15 ministers against whom Kejriwal and others went on fast in July. The IAC had raised the involvement of Pawar in three scams - wheat import scam, pulses import scam and the Lavasa project scam," it said in a statement.

Lavasa Corporation chose not to comment on the allegations.