Judicial Committee To Probe Khadse’s Pune Land Deal: Devendra Fadnavis

MUMBAI: A judicial committee of a retired Bombay High Court judge will probe the purchase of the MIDC land near Pune by former Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said in Mumbai on Tuesday.

Mr Khadse, the seniormost BJP leader, had to resign earlier this month over the controversial deal wherein he had purchased three-acre plot at Bhosri, believed to be owned by the state Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) in name of his kin for Rs. 3.75 crore as against the market price of Rs. 40 crore.

“A retired judge of the Bombay High Court will be appointed to probe the purchase of MIDC land at Bhosari by Khadse. The probe against him will be that of a judicial committee and it will be completed within three months,” the CM told reporters at Mantralaya.

He said the police have already cleared Mr Khadse’s name amidst allegations that he had received calls on his mobile number from wife of Karachi-based fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.

Interestingly, Mr Fadnavis said last Saturday that he was confident that “Nathabhau (Khadse) will emerge clean from this “Agnipariksha” (test by fire),” against the backdrop of a string of allegations against him.

Meanwhile, responding to queries over the “illegal” purchase of land in Jalgaon district by Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan, Mr Fadnavis said the plot was not “Mahar vatan” land as being claimed.

“As per Jalgaon district collector’s report, the land records available since 1885 show that the recording of ‘Mahar Vatan’ (land bestowed on members of Mahar community during the British or pre-British period) land had been removed and since 1957 the land has been registered as ‘free holding’ land. Moreover, it is a fallow land,” he said.

The Congress had accused Mr Mahajan of “forcibly” acquiring the land in 2002 under the garb of setting up a cooperative sugar mill which never came up. The party had also alleged that Mr Mahajan “purposefully” did not disclose the land deal in his electoral affidavits.

The NCP had approached the Election Commission seeking action against Mr Mahajan for not mentioning the land deal in his poll affidavits.

“As far as the question of not showing (the land deal) in the election affidavit is concerned, the issue does not fall under the purview of the Election Commission of India and that it is for the court of law to adjudicate,” Mr Fadnavis said.