At the same press conference, Damania alleged that Gadkari dissuaded her from raising the multi-crore irrigation scam in the state because water meant for farmers had been diverted to his companies.
With a view to proving that Damania had a vested interest, the BJP today released a letter sent by her to the Maharashtra Irrigation Department on Jun 10, 2011.
The party referred to newspaper reports about Damania along with two of her partners namely Vanita Ahluwalia and Switu Mehta having acquired 60 acres of tribal's land that lies beside the Ulhas river in Kondivade village back in 2007.
Subsequently, the plot was registered in Damania's name with the help of a 7/12 certificate. Damania averred that she was an agriculturist at that time.
The tribal whose name is Anil Gogate received Rs 80,000 an acre for some portions of his land and upto Rs 5 lakh an acre for others.
According to the farmer, Damania and her partners claimed to be setting up an agri-business wherein the villagers would get jobs.
"So we were more than happy. But within a short time, they started constructing houses on the land and began selling them off. We felt bad that the land was being used for commercial purposes without any jobs for local people," Gogate said.
By then, the Maharashtra government had cleared a dam project in the area. Since the dam was to be built on the Ulhas river, adjoining lands were to be acquired.
However, Damania resisted the move and wrote to the Irrigation department. She suggested that her land can be excluded from the acquisition process if the dam alignment is changed by 500 to 700 metres.
On the change in alignment, Damania said: "...it will give us back our life and save the approach to the cave. Government can have survey of this place, beyond 700 meters, and there is no private land. It will only be adivasi land and we are sure they are adequately compensated." It was this letter the BJP cited today as proof of Damania's interest in the matter.
Incidentally, Karjat tehsildar Jaysingh Girase found during an enquiry that neither Damania nor her two partners were agriculturists.
When the tehsildar sent a notice to the trio, Damania and her partners could not produce the documents which were required to buttress their claims. Hence, the government confiscated the 60 acres.