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Probe report on Maharashtra BJP leader Eknath Khadse won’t be made public now: CM Fadnavis

Khadse has been charged with misusing his power as revenue minister to enable his wife and son- in-law to purchase land at lower rates

mumbai Updated: Dec 23, 2017 11:34 IST
Senior BJP leader in Maharashtra Eknath Khadse.(HT File Photo)

A political comeback for former revenue minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Eknath Khadse seems even more unlikely now. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday indicated that a probe panel report into allegations against Khadse will not be made public as of now. “We will publish the report at an appropriate time.” He refused to say when.

In fact, Fadnavis told the Assembly that the report submitted by the Zoting committee is not relevant any more after the Bombay high court ordered an independent inquiry into the case. The panel, which was constituted to probe an alleged scam into a land deal in Bhosri, Pune, involving Khadse’s family, had submitted its report on June 30 this year and the former minister was anxiously waiting for his rehabilitation in the government.

Fadnavis said the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) has now filed a FIR in the Bhosri land case and an inquiry is in progress.

“After constitution of the committee, a petition was filed in the high court, which asked authorities to lodge a complaint in the case. We requested the court to wait for the committee report, but the request was turned down by the court. It also directed the ACB to register a case. As that probe is on, the report has no relevance as such and it has been clarified by the court, too,” he said.

This means the report is unlikely to be made public by the government. Khadse was removed from the cabinet in June 2016 after a controversy over a deal of land owned by Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) at Bhosri. Khadse is facing charges of misusing his powers as revenue minister to enable his wife and son- in-law to purchase land at a much cheaper rate.

Fadnavis also informed the Assembly that the report of the committee probing alleged irregularities in de-notification of MIDC land by industries minister Subhash Desai will be submitted in 15 days. The MIDC comes under the jurisdiction of the industries department, while land acquisition-related matters are governed by the revenue department.

Former additional chief secretary KP Bakshi is probing the allegations.

The CM also said the Lokayukta has registered terms of reference for the probe of the case related to housing minister Prakash Mehta and the registration of the statement of the minister will begin soon. He said the ombudsman has also gathered information from departments concerned.

Opposition had alleged the Mehta has been held guilty in the preliminary inquiry by Lokayukta for facilitating the transfer of additional building rights of slum-dwellers to a builder, thus dolling out a windfall of Rs500 crore. Leader of opposition in the Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said, “According to a media report, the Lokayukta has preliminary found Mehta having cleared the file to ensure gains to the builder. The additional building rights were transferred illegally. Slum rehabilitation rules do not have any such provision of transfer. The papers related to the resolution by the society of slumdwellers refusing any additional FSI are also missing from the file,” he said.

Fadnavis announced in the legislative assembly on Friday that the Maharashtra police has rolled out e-complaint facility to facilitate citizens filing police complaints. He said the complaints can also be filed by downloading the App meant for registering complaints.

“Citizens won’t have to wait to register complaints with the police. If the case registered online is cognisable, the police station concerned will summon the complainant for lodging of an FIR. The complainant will be intimated about investigation via SMS,” he said.

First Published: Dec 23, 2017 11:34 IST