Maharashtra: Sharad Pawar, nephew Ajit named in illegal land deal

  • Kunal Purohit, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jun 16, 2015 18:48 IST

A Pune-based activist has levelled a series of allegations regarding the transfer of a 76-acre plot in Baramati against two trusts headed by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and his nephew and party leader Ajit Pawar.

Activist Ravindra Barhate has alleged that the two trusts, between them, fraudulently transferred a 76-acre publicowned plot of forest land, without taking permissions.

This transaction, he alleged, was not just against the rules as it wasn’t permitted by the charity commissioner, but it also caused losses to the public exchequer as the land was not auctioned, but handed over at a throwaway price.

The trust, in a statement, rubbished the allegations, but admitted that the transfer didn’t have the charity commissioner’s nod.

“The process to get the commissioner’s approval is on. We have followed all conditions set by the state government during this transfer and have legally carried this process out. We have even paid Rs97 lakh to the state towards this transfer,” said the statement.

Barhate has also alleged that Ajit fraudulently become the chairman of Krushi Udyog Mul Shikshan Sanstha (KUMSS) and produced documents showing how the charity commissioner had set aside his ascendance to the chairman’s post last year. The land was transferred in October last year.

According to Barhate, Ajit, after a visit to the village in 2006, saw the plot on which KUMSS existed and expressed a desire to become a member of the trust. Soon, he became the chairman of the trust. Under him, the trust entered into an agreement with Vidya Pratishthan, the educational trust run by the former Union agriculture minister, with Ajit and daughter Supriya as the members.

Barhate alleges that this transfer, initiated through a KUMSS resolution in May 2007, was illegal as the land was public and registered with the charity commissioner. “The Bombay Public Trusts Act makes it clear that any such transfer of public land would require the permission of the charity commissioner. However, no such permission was ever applied for, let alone being granted,” he said.

The activist has produced a copy of the charity commissioner’s report last week, which states that the office has not granted any such nod to such a transfer of land.

Barhate also said the land was undervalued, while giving it on lease to VP for Rs 25,000 annually, causing a loss to the exchequer while deciding the rent.

He also added the land should not have been t ransfer red between the two trusts. “The Supreme Court has ruled that public land has to be auctioned if it has to be handed over to private bodies. This land, had it been auctioned, would have fetched a good price for the state.”

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