MIDC land deal: FIR against Eknath Khadse, wife and son-in-law
Pune, April 10: The Anti-Corruption Bureau on Monday registered an FIR against former Maharashtra Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse, his wife, son-in-law and original owner of the land in connection with alleged irregularities in the purchase of the MIDC land near Pune.
A case under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the IPC was registered at the Bund Garden police station, where a Pune-based activist and builder, Hemant Gavande, had filed a complaint on May 30 last year, an official said. Superintendent of Police Shirish Sardeshpande confirmed that the case was registered against Khadse, his wife Mandakini, son-in-law Girish Chaudhary and the original owner of the land Abbas Ukani.
Gavande had alleged that Khadse, during his tenure as the Revenue Minister, had purchased a three-acre plot at Bhosari in Pune owned by Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation in the name of his kin for Rs 3.75 crore as against the market price of Rs 40 crore. However, after Pune police did not register an FIR, Gavande had moved the Bombay High Court and since then the bench was hearing his petition.
"The complaint application filed by Gavande on May 30, 2016 at Bund Garden police station will be treated as the main complaint and now since the FIR has been registered, the ACB will investigate that original complaint. Gavande is the complainant in today's FIR," Sardeshpande said.
He said that an officer of the rank of Additional Superintendent of Police from Pune ACB will investigate the case. Expressing happiness over the development, Gavande said, "I am happy and I feel that justice is still alive. As the case has been registered now, the ACB should prove the intention behind the purchase of such a land, which is acquired and possessed by MIDC."
On March 8, the Maharashtra government had told the court that ACB would probe the case against Khadse and would register an FIR. The HC had said that the investigation should be carried out "expeditiously and independently". The government's decision to transfer the probe to the ACB had come after the high court had during earlier hearings expressed displeasure over the manner in which the local police were handling the investigation.
Khadse had quit the Devendra Fadnavis ministry in June last year in the wake of a string of allegations, including irregularities in the Pune MIDC land deal. The state government had earlier set up a judicial commission, headed by retired Justice Dinkar Zoting, to probe the allegations against Khadse in this matter.