The anti-corruption bureau (ACB) on Monday registered a first information report (FIR) against former Maharashtra public works department (PWD) minister Chhagan Bhujbal and five others in a multi-crore construction scam.
The accused allegedly caused huge losses to the state exchequer by illegally leasing a prime plot of land at Kalina in Santacruz (East) to a private developer.
According to ACB sources, the Mumbai university, owner of the land, had given the four-acre plot to the state government to construct a library. The university had decided to construct the library through a government entity, the ACB said.
The PWD department under Bhujbal issued a tender for the construction of the library in 2009 on some portion of the plot, while the rest was allegedly leased out to a reputable developer. “The remaining land was leased out for 99 years at the rate of Re1 per square metre, which is illegal. The revenue department was kept in the dark and the collector was not informed,” said a senior ACB officer.
ACB sources said the officials booked in the case were overlooking the process during the period of the fraud. “Documents were also forged during the approval process of the land,” said the officer. Other officials booked in the case are Gajanan Sawant, the then sub-divisional engineer, Harish Patil, the then executive engineer, Anilkumar Gaikwad, the then superintending engineer, Sanjay Solanki, the then undersecretary and MS Shah, the then secretary (constructions).
The special investigating team of the ACB had questioned Bhujbal last Thursday for the third time in the case. He was questioned for the first time on April 30 this year after the Bombay high court observed there was sufficient material to file an FIR against the politician.