‘Revenue dept’ land case: ACB may search home of accused

  • Pratik Salunke, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: May 16, 2016 01:29 IST

The city anti-corruption bureau (ACB) is likely to search the residence of the 47-year-old man for allegedly demanding a bribe of Rs30 crore to clear a land deal claiming to be associated with the state revenue department headed by Eknath Khadse.

With a demand for probe coming in from several quarters, the minister denied that the accused, Gajanan Laxman Patil, was in any way associated to his office. Sources said the ACB may search Patil’s residence at Muktai Nagar in Jalgaon on Monday itself.

Searching residence is part of ACB’s probe each time a government servant is caught accepting bribe. However, in this case, the investigating body is likely to seek a court order to conduct the search.

The ACB is also in the process of evaluating the exact cost of the land in question. Sources said the value of the land may be far less than the market rate. “It has been revealed that the government evaluation is Rs5 crore for 27-acre land. The matter is being investigated,” said an officer.

The complainant alleged that Patil claimed that he will liaison with the revenue department to pass the land deal in Thane district. ACB sources said Patil assured that he will get the land for him for which he initially demanded Rs15 crore and then Rs30 crore.

The complainant then approached the ACB. The facts were verified and a case was registered on May 9. Patil was arrested last Friday.

Revenue minister Eknath Khadse’s office, meanwhile, issued a statement stating that Gajanan Laxman Patil does not work officially or privately at the minister’s offices in Jalgaon or Mumbai. “If someone is using my name for misappropriations and if he is guilty, then action should be taken,” said Khadse in the statement, adding that he knew Patil only as he is a resident of his taluka.

Khade added that the application by the organisation for the land was rejected on 27 March, 2014, as it was meant for cattle grazing. The said land was given to the transport department on the instructions of the Bombay high court, the statement read. The organisation had filed a review application, which too was rejected.

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