The Opposition has demanded a judicial probe into allegations of Chief Minister Ashok Chavan’s involvement in a land scam in Pune.
The issue came up in the Assembly on Wednesday when Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator, Devendra Fadnavis, alleged that Chavan had illegally transferred 100 acres of government-acquired land to a builder [who had power of attorney from the original landholders] in January 2002 when he was revenue minister.
Fadnavis alleged that the illegal transfer caused the state a loss of Rs 1,200 crore. He said Jayant Shah, a partner in Mayureshvar Developers, was also involved in the scam.
Chavan said the allegations were based on incomplete information. Chavan and Revenue Minister, Narayan Rane, promised a probe into the allegations of misuse of land, but the Opposition wanted a judicial probe into the entire case.
The government turned down the demand prompting the Opposition to walk out.
Fadnavis said the land in Shivajinagar, an upmarket area in Pune, belonged to the Ramoshi community. The Ramoshis served royal families and were rewarded with land for their services.
Since the community did not comply with government rules the state took back the land in 1951.
A month ago, Ravindra Barate, an estate agent from Pune, had alleged that documents he accessed under the Right to Information Act showed that Chavan had flouted norms and returned the land to owners, who allowed the builder to develop it. He also said that Shah and Chavan were friends.
Chavan, in a statement issued later in the day, said he had taken the decision to return the land according to legal provisions.
Rane earlier defended Chavan saying the charges were baseless. He, however, assured an inquiry into the misuse of disputed land by the new owners.