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Forest minister to be added to respondents’ list

mumbai Updated: Jul 13, 2010 01:20 IST
Urvi Mahajani
Urvi Mahajani
Hindustan Times
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Forest Minister Patangrao Kadam has come under the scanner of the Bombay High Court for allegedly allotting land to an educational institution of which he is a founder member.

Pune Zilla Sahakari Doodh Utpadak Sangh (PZSDUS) has approached the Bombay High Court challenging the collector’s order of cancelling the lease licence for a portion of its land and handing it over to Bharati Vidyapeeth University (BVU), Pune.

Kadam is founder and trustee of Bharati Vidyapeeth.

The PZSDUS had made only the state government and the collector respondents in his petition.

The Bombay High Court recently directed that Kadam and other trustees be added as respondents in the petition.

“The allegations are totally false and baseless. The CM takes the decision. The government decided to take back the plot as they were not utilising the land as per the conditions,” Kadam told Hindustan Times.

The PZSDUS was allotted 20 acres at Katraj in April 1969. The 10-year lease was renewed in 1979 for 99 years.

On December 8, 2009, the collector issued a notice to the PZSDUS cancelling its lease on 5 acres and handed it over to Bharati Vidyapeeth, which owns the adjoining plot.

On August 31, 2009, the Department of Revenue & Forest passed an order allotting 5 acres of PZSDUS plot to Bharati Vidyapeeth. Kadam was then the revenue minister.

Bharati Vidyapeeth was also asked to pay 25 per cent of the cost of rate prevailing in 1976.

In January, the PZSDUS approached the high court.

PZSDUS’s advocate Shekhar Jagtap argued: “Bharti Vidyapeeth has agreed to pay about Rs 25,000 for the land. The market price of that area must be over Rs 15 crore.”

However, Bharati Vidyapeeth’s counsel opposed the petition saying that a 2005 survey revealed that the PZSDUS was not utilising the entire 20 acres. The land was then allotted to Bharatiya Vidyapeeth and Shikshan Mandal, Pune.

The petition prays that the high court quash the 2009 notice issued by the collector.