More trouble for Bhujbal, ACB to file charges in Kalina land case

  • Pratik Salunke, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Mar 20, 2016 00:29 IST

In more trouble for Chhagan Bhujbal, currently in jail after being arrested for his involvement in the Maharashtra Sadan scam, the state anti-corruption bureau (ACB) has said it will file a chargesheet against him and five other government officials this month in the Kalina land deal case.

The chargesheet, several pages long, emphasises on documentary evidence, sources said. “As per directions of the court, the agency will file the chargesheet in the stipulated time,” said a source requesting anonymity.

The chargesheet will have a detailed account of all the people connected with the Kalina land deal case, the documents that were acquired from the public works department (PWD) that Bhujbal was heading at the time and the minutes of all the meetings. “The documents were collected during the probe that has spanned months,” the source said.

The ACB’s case is against Bhujbal and five other PWD officials — Gajanan Sawant, who was then a sub divisional engineer, Harish Patil, an executive engineer at the time, Anilkumar Gaikwad, then superintending engineer, Sanjay Solanki, then undersecretary and MS Shah, the then secretary (constructions) — for allegedly causing huge losses to the state government by leasing out a plot to a private developer at a very low rate.

According to ACB sources, the case involves a prime plot at Kalina belonging to the Mumbai University, which granted a four-acre plot to the state to construct a library. The university decided to construct the library through a government entity, ACB stated.

The PWD department, under Bhujbal, allegedly issued tenders to construct the library in 2009 on one portion of the plot, and allegedly leased out the remaining land to a well-known developer for 99 years, at Re 1 per square metre, which the ACB said is illegal. The revenue department was kept in the dark about this deal and the collector was not informed, the ACB has alleged.

ACB sources said the five officers booked were overlooking the process when the fraud took place. Investigations also revealed documents were forged during the approval process.

The ACB has already filed a chargesheet against Bhujbal and 16 others in connection with the Maharashtra sadan scam. In December 2014, the high court had given the ACB a go-ahead to conduct an inquiry against Bhujbal, following which a special investigation team was set up that worked in co-ordination with the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The ED arrested Bhujbal’s nephew Sameer in February, after which he was also arrested on March 14 and is currently under judicial custody.

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