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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

Rs1,768cr Kharghar land scam: Panel submits probe report

The report is expected to be submitted to Maharastra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis next week.

mumbai Updated: Jul 21, 2019 04:10 IST
The Kharghar land was given to Koyna project-affected persons who later sold it to a builder.
The Kharghar land was given to Koyna project-affected persons who later sold it to a builder.(HT Photo)
         

The one-member committee probing the alleged Kharghar land scam of Rs 1,768-crore submitted its report to the urban development department (UDD) a week ago.

The Devendra Fadnavis-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government had announced a probe in 2018 after the Opposition, led by the Congress, alleged that the plot – a few kilometres away from the proposed Navi Mumbai airport – was allotted to eight farmers in November 2017, and within hours, it was transferred to a leading builder for just Rs 3.6 crore, although its estimated value is Rs 1,768 crore. The Congress had alleged the involvement of a BJP legislator.

It said the state had helped a private builder “illegally acquire” 24 acres of Cidco-owned land in Kharghar by giving it to these farmers who are the project-affected people (PAPs) of the Koyna power project and allowing them to sell it, facilitating windfall to the builder.

The report is expected to be submitted to Fadnavis next week. But the state is unlikely to make it public, as it first needs to be tabled in the state legislature, whose session will only commence after the Assembly polls.

“We received the report a few days ago and are in process of submitting it to the CM by next week. The probe committee was not appointed under the Commission of Inquiry Act, but we will have to check if it has to be tabled in the state legislature first,” said Nitin Kareer, principal secretary, UDD. The one-member committee headed by retired high court judge RC Chavan probed eight terms of references, including ownership of land, Cidco’s right to allot the land to PAPs, whether the transfer of land was legal and if change in use of land was allowed. It had also been asked to probe the land allotment to PAPs in the past 15 years and if allotment and transfers were done as per the rules.

According to officials from the Mantralaya, it is up to the CM to accept or reject the probe report. “As the probe was announced in both the houses, the report will have to be tabled in the legislature during winter session. The state has to decide whether to table the entire report or the action-taken report,” an official said on condition of anonymity.