The state anti-corruption bureau on Monday is charge sheet against Nationalist Congress Party leader Chhagan Bhujbal and six others in the Kalina land deal case, for allegedly receiving kickbacks by leasing out a portion of Mumbai University land meant for a library. The accused include five government servants and a chartered accountant.
The charge sheet spells more trouble for Bhujbal, currently in Arthur Road jail after he was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) earlier this month in a money laundering case in connection with Maharashtra Sadan construction scam.
“The charge sheet subsumes a detailed narration as to how the said conspiracy culminated into a crime, and has over 17,400 pages of documentary evidence,” said an ACB spokesperson.
ACB sources said the case involves a prime plot at Kalina that belongs to the Mumbai University. The university gave a four-acre plot to the state to construct a library. The PWD department that Bhujbal was heading at the time, allegedly issued tenders to construct the library in 2009 on one portion of the plot, but leased out the remaining to a well-known developer for 99 years, at Re1 a sqm. This is illegal, the ACB said. The revenue department was kept in the dark about the deal, and the collector was not informed either, the ACB has alleged.
“The charge sheet has the testimony of 63 witnesses. The total land is measuring over 16,000-plus sqm. Around 7,000 sqm was allotted to the private developer as barter. Till date, the library has not been completed and the construction work is underway,” said a source, adding the ACB has strong evidence.
The charge sheet has a detailed account of all the people connected with the Kalina land deal case, the documents acquired from PWD and the minutes of all the meetings.
HT was the first to report earlier this month about the ACB gearing up to file the charge sheet.
The ACB’s case is against Bhujbal and five other PWD officials — Gajanan Sawant, who was a sub-divisional engineer at the time, Harish Patil, an executive engineer , Anilkumar Gaikwad, then superintending engineer, Sanjay Solanki, then undersecretary and MS Shah, the then secretary (constructions) — for allegedly causing huge losses to the state government by leasing out a plot to a private developer at a very low rate.
The CA , Ravindra Sawant, was later added as an accused in the charge sheet, after investigations revealed his alleged involvement.
“Sawant ignored the criteria mentioned in allotment of such tenders. His firm, Sawant and company, was appointed by the department,” said the source. “The government servants booked in the case prepared feasibility report pertaining to the land deal. They gave fabricated and false reports.”
Shah has currently been hospitalised in Pune, sources said.
ACB sources said the five officers booked were overlooking the process when the fraud took place. Investigations also revealed documents were forged during the approval process.
The ACB has already filed a charge sheet against Bhujbal and 16 others in connection with the Maharashtra Sadan scam. In December 2014, the high court had given ACB the go-ahead to conduct an inquiry against Bhujbal, following which a special investigation team was set up to work in co-ordination with the ED. The ED arrested Bhujbal’s nephew Sameer in February, after which he was also arrested on March 14 and is in judicial custody till March 31.