Inquiry into land sale by Indore trust begins after HC held it to be illegal
The trust has defended the sale of properties and stated that it was done following all procedures for the purpose of raising funds for maintenance of properties held by the trust.Updated: Oct 08, 2020, 07:29 IST
Economic offence wing (EOW) of MP government initiated a preliminary enquiry (PE) on Wednesday to probe alleged illegal sale of land by an Indore based trust and other irregularities in light of high court’s judgment passed on Monday in this regard, as per department of home, Madhya Pradesh.
At the same time, the home department constituted a team of officials including two superintendents of police to assist the EOW in its probe.
“A letter from the director general of EOW has stated that the high court has issued a directive to institute an inquiry into charges against trustees of Khasgi (Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Charities) Trust regarding misappropriation, illegal construction and illegal sale of government land. In this regard a preliminary enquiry has been registered,” said an official release.
As per the communiqué, a committee of police officers has been formed in view of the magnitude of the inquiry and importance of the case to assist the EOW in its probe.
The team members include superintendent of police of police training college in Indore, Awdhesh Goswami, superintendent of police of the anti-terrorism squad, Ramji Shrivastava, additional superintendent of police of the cyber cell in Indore, Vaibhav Shrivastava, inspectors of police, Gopal Parmar, Santosh Singh Yadav, Vinod Dixit, Narendra Raghuvanshi and Manju Yadav and sub-inspector of police JP Trivedi, as per the official information.
The home department has additionally requested the director general of police to assign 10 sub-inspectors of police and 20 constables to assist the probing team, as per the communique.
Denying any fraud in the transactions, the counsel for the trustees from erstwhile royal family of Holkars, Abhinav Malhotra said, “The fact remains that in the past six decades of existence of the trust only 6 of 246 properties were sold and the proposal for every sale was duly approved by each and every member of the trust. Three of the trustees include Holkar family members and their representative; two trustees are representatives of the state government and one trustee is nominated by the central government.”
Malhotra added that the sale of properties was done in a transparent manner to fund the maintenance need for trust properties.
“The sale was transparent and entire money was deposited in the trust’s bank accounts to create a corpus for maintenance of the trust properties. This is also a fact that while the state government gives merely Rs 2.91 lakh to the trust for maintenance of the trust properties, the royal family members, who are trustees, have given crores of rupees from their own pockets for maintenance of the properties.”
Notably, high court’s Indore bench on Monday quashed the judgment of a single judge bench of the same court, passed in 2013 and questioned the sale of endowment properties by the trust while declaring the sale of the land null and void and ordering an inquiry by the economic offence wing (EOW) of MP government into it, as per the judgment copy.
The properties, 246 in number, are spread over 12,000 acre of land in various states including Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Maharashtra etc and include ‘138 temples, 18 dharmshalas, 34 ghats, 12 chhatries, 24 bagicha, kund and other miscellaneous properties’ managed by Khasgi Trust, as per the judgement copy.