The state government has announced that Sunil Soni, finance secretary in charge of reforms, will conduct the probe into decisions pertaining to land deals taken by the City and Industrial Development Corporation’s (Cidco) board of directors between November 2009 and May 2010.
The state issued the order a fortnight ago.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan had announced this second probe after Hindustan Times, in its July 25 edition, questioned the propriety of an investigation into the land dealings by urban development secretary T.C. Benjamin, who is one of the directors of the company.
Benjamin had been asked to look into decisions taken by Cidco’s former managing director, G.S. Gill, in the last six months of his tenure (November 2009 to May 2010) and land deals worth Rs 2,500 crore following allegations of misappropriation in handing out Cidco plots to private developers.
Until the two probes are complete, all decisions regarding land use, change of land use and modification of tender clauses during this period have been stayed.
Soni, a former planning secretary, will have three months to investigate the decisions taken and ratified by the Cidco board and hand over a report to the state.
“The terms of reference of the probe are similar to the first one, including the six-month period from November 2009 to May 2010. But this inquiry will be into decisions taken by the Cidco board,” said Nitin Kareer, CM’s secretary.
The other board members include four government officers — Manukumar Srivastav, principal secretary (urban development department); Ratnakar Gaikwad, MMRDA commissioner; S.S. Sandhu, Konkan divisional commissioner; and Navi Mumbai municipal commissioner V.S. Nahta — and three nominees from political parties.
These include Cidco chairman Nakul Patil (NCP) and directors Namdeo Bhagat (Congress) and Subhash Bhoir (NCP). In 2006, the state had ordered a similar probe into irregularities in land deal, which was conducted by then additional chief secretary D.K. Sankaran, head of planning department.
Sankaran had indicted Cidco’s then managing director V.M. Lal and other officials. The matter is still under litigation.
Meanwhile, Benjamin has already initiated his probe and held two hearings in connection.