Faced with a land grab charge against his wife, Maharashtra Revenue Minister Narayan Rane on Saturday denied any wrongdoing but offered to surrender the land to the temple trust that has levelled the allegation, if it so wishes.
The temple trust situated in Mahabaleshwar has filed a petition in the Bombay High Court alleging a piece of land belonging to it was illegally sold to Nilima Rane.
“The land deal was completely transparent and legal. But if the temple trust wants the land, I would give it to them with permission from the court,” Rane told reporters.
Rane's statement comes a day after an embattled chief minister Ashok Chavan, whose alleged role in Adarsh Housing Society scam threatens to cost him is job, announced that flats allotted to his relatives in the tower in upmarket Colaba meant for Kargil veterans and war widows were being surrendered.
The entire controversy involving Rane's wife is over a half-acre plot – survey number 109 – which, according to the revenue minister, was in possession of Radhabai Mahabaleshwar prior to 1945 when Sureshchandra Panchal bought it.
In 1985, the land came to be wrongly registered in the name of temple trust against which Panchal had filed a complaint.
Following Panchal's complaint, the record was amended by the revenue department in 2008, Rane claimed.
Nilima bought almost half acre (18 gunthas) from Panchal for Rs 1.4 lakh 15 years ago as he needed money for the treatment of his ailing son, Rane, a former chief minister, said, denying charges of any foul play.