Bombay High Court transfers probe into Pune land scam to CBI

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Mumbai, Feb 22 (PTI) The Bombay High Court todaytransferred from the State CID to the CBI, probe into the Puneland scam under the Urban Land Ceiling and Regulation Act(ULCA) and directed the agency to register FIRs against formerUrban Development minister and Mumbai BJP chief Raj Purohitand other revenue officers of the department within six weeks.

"According to the report, submitted by the one-manCommittee appointed by the government, the minister (Purohit)and several revenue officers of the Urban Developmentdepartment had abused their powers and passed brazenlyfraudulent orders," a division bench of Justices B HMarlapalle and U D Salvi observed.

"The CBI shall take over the probe and shall take stepsto register FIR against all those revenue officers named inthe report as well as Purohit, then Minister of State forUrban Development within six weeks," the bench directed.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by BJP spokespersonMadhav Bhandari alleging that between 1976 and 2005, 11,894returns (statements of property extracts and details ofpersons having interest in the land) were filed in the ULCA inthe Pune urban agglomeration.

According to the PIL, bogus orders were passed under ULCAto avoid surrendering excess land to the state government.

Purohit''s lawyer Niteen Pradhan said they would challengethe order.

The 29 cases registered by the State CID, Pune betweenDecember 2010 and January 2011 following court orders do notname even one of the revenue officers as accused in the scam.

This is one of the reasons why the court feels that the caseshould be handed over to an independent agency which is notunder the control of the state government, Justice Marlapalleremarked. .

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