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  Metros   Mumbai  02 May 2018  Khadse gets clean chit from ACB in land case

Khadse gets clean chit from ACB in land case

Published : May 2, 2018, 2:05 am IST
Updated : May 2, 2018, 2:06 am IST

Damania surprised, to approach HC today.

Eknath Khadse
 Eknath Khadse

Mumbai: The state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has given a clean chit to former revenue minister Eknath Khadse, who was forced to resign from the Cabinet in June 2016 over allegations related to his family members purchasing Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) land in Pune’s Bhosari. The ACB did not find any adequate evidence to support the allegations levelled against Mr Khadse to proceed with the investigation, sources said.

Surprised by the ACB’s stand, social activist Anjali Damania, who levelled various allegations against Mr Khadse, has decided to knock the doors of the Bombay high court on Wednesday to seek action against the leader. The ACB submitted the closure report in a Pune court.

It was alleged that Mr Khadse, who was then the revenue minister of Bharatiya Janata Party-led government, had bought a three-acre MIDC?plot at Bhosari in the name of his wife for `3.75 crore, against the market price of `40 crore from the original owner, Abbas Ukani. Mr Khadse tendered his resignation on June 4, 2016 in the wake of a report by chief minister Fadnavis to the party president Amit Shah.

Mr Fadnavis had declared that an inquiry would be conducted by retired high court judge Dinkar Zoting. But a social activist from Pune, Hemant Gavande, filed a complaint with the ACB and a petition in the Bombay high court. Initially the state government took taken the stand that as a judicial probe was going on, there was no need for an ACB inquiry. But after the displeasure and anguish shown by the division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Shalini Phansalkar, the ACB filed an FIR and initiated an inquiry. The court was of the view that a criminal investigation could be done while a judicial probe was going on. Meanwhile, the Zoting Committee submitted its report to the government last year, which has not yet been declared. Mr Fadnavis had made a statement in the state legislature that as the ACB had registered the FIR, there was no need to consider the Zoting committee report. The ACB filed the closure report before the Pune special court on April 27, according to sources.

Mr Khadse refuted all allegations levelled against him before the committee and ACB, stating that he was not the industry minister at the time and the question of misuse of power didn’t arise. Mr Ukani had not received compensation, so he had the legal right to sell the land, said Mr Khadse.

It was alleged that Mr Khadse had convened a meeting on February 23, 2016 with officers of the departments concerned and on March 28, 2016, Khadse's wife and son-in-law—who live abroad—entered into an agreement for the land and `50 lakh was paid in advance while the leader held a meeting of officers again on April 12 and the sale deed was executed on April 28, 2016. Mr Khadse stated that he was not aware about the purchase of landwhile conducting the meeting.

Damania surprised Khadse relieved

Expressing surprise that the ACB has filed the closure report in court, activist Anjali Damania said, “Now I will file the petition in the high court immediately. We have given many proofs and evidence to the ACB. Still it has not done anything. They want to protect Khadse.”

Meanwhile, Mr Khadse expressing satisfaction with the clean chit, maintained, “ I am not interested in getting any post or become minister. I have been working for the party for 40 years from its foundation day. People who levelled allegations against me have now been proved wrong.”

Chronology of events:

June 4, 2016: Mr Khadse resigns
June 23, 2016: Government declares an inquiry by Rtd Justice Dinkar Zoting  
February 14, 2017: Senior PI M.B. Bahaddarpure says in HC that there is no material against Mr Khadse
March 8, 2017: ACB showns readiness for a probe before a bench of Justice Ranjit More and Shalini Phansalkar  
July 6, 2017: Zoting committee submits report to the CM, which has not been declared
April, 27 2018: ACB files closure report before special court in Pune

Tags: eknath khadse, midc