Amid a series of allegations of wrongdoing against him, revenue minister Eknath Khadse has cancelled the allotment of a 22-acre plot to a controversial educational institute run by Chhagan Bhujbal and his family in Nashik.
The state government had given the plot to Mumbai Education Trust (MET) to extend its campus. The decision to revoke the order, issued on May 30, based on a proposal by the Nashik collector that the two land parcels (measuring 22.56 acres) should be taken back for violation of terms and conditions that were imposed at the time of allotting the land.
“The educational institute (MET) has clearly violated the terms and conditions. The proposal made by Nashik collector to take back the plot has been accepted and the allotment orders dated November 6, 2003, and January 1, 2009, should be cancelled. The land parcels should be taken back in the possession of the revenue department,” said the order passed by Khadse, a copy of which is in possession with HT.
The land allotment first came under scanner after Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on India in 2012 had passed strictures for ‘undue favour’ to the educational institute (MET) by allotting large parcels of land at concessional rates. This led the then state government to start fresh scrutiny in the case. During scrutiny, it was found that MET had not fulfilled condition to develop the plot within the stipulated time — two years from the date of allotment.
MET already has its campus in Nashik popularly known as ‘Bhujbal Knowledge City’. For extension of its engineering and polytechnic college, a plot admeasuring 10.03 acre was allotted to MET on November 6, 2003. Further, on January 7, 2009, the institute again got adjoining plot 12.35 acres for extension with same conditions that it has to be developed within two years. However, in both the cases this condition was violated said a report submitted by Tehsildar on October 17, 2015 as no development was made, except compound wall.
Pankaj Bhujbal, MET trustee and Chhagan Bhujbal’s son, said the government decision will be challenged. “This is a deliberate attempt by the BJP government to target us, which is being unjust with MET,” he said. The decision came at the time when the Bhujbals face a toughest time. Bhujbal, along with his nephew Sameer, are behind bars for money laundering charges.