In an alleged quid-pro, it has come to the light that former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis regularised “illegal occupation” of a over six-acre piece of land belonging to Nagpur police in favour of Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarial Purohit during his tenure.
According to revenue records accessed by NH, Fadnavis not only overlooked a verdict of the Nagpur HC “in his bid to regularise the illegal possession” but waived off stamp duty which is bound to be paid to the government after any such transaction. Nagpur HC had rejected a petition filed by Purohit seeking regularisation of the occupation in 2001.
Records show that Purohit – chairman of Ramdeobaba Samiti Trust which runs Shri Ramdeobaba College of Engineering – first claimed possession over the land in the late 80s. But he could not get governments approval despite his best efforts.
The land, whose worth is estimated to be in crores, was allegedly given as a “return gift” by Fadnavis to Purohit in lieu of the “support” the former had received from the latter.
“The land was lying uncircled and vacant for years, and the engineering college shares a boundary with it…it was easy for Purohit to lay his claims over the land,” said lawyer and activist Satish Uke.
According to Uke, Fadnavis legalised the possession despite knowing that Nagpur HC had rejected Purohit’s possession in the past.
As per the documents, Purohit through his trust filed a petition in the Nagpur HC in 1999, seeking protection of his possession of the land but the court had rejected the petition in 2001 and directed the police to remove illegal occupation on it.
“Despite this, Purohit did not vacate the land and continued with his efforts to get possession of the land…Finally, he succeeded when Fadnavis became the CM,” said Uke. It is important to mention here that Fadnavis was also heading the Home department under which the police department comes.
Following the revelation, Uke filed a complaint with the police against Purohit under Sections 467 (forging documents), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record) of the IPC against Banwarilal Purohit.
Speaker of the Maharashtra assembly Nana Patole said that he will ask the state Home Minister to initiate an inquiry into the matter and take action against the culprits.
It is not the first time that Purohit has been named in a murky land deal. Uke recently filed a police complaint against Fadnavis, Purohit , and others for allegedly “forging documents” in order to acquire 10 acre land worth Rs 50 crore in Nagpur. Seeking registration of an FIR against all three, the complainant, Satish Uke alleged that “Fadnavis and Purohit misused their position in politics to benefit each other”.
The land in question, which actually belonged to Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB), was transferred to Bhagwandas Purohit Vidya Mandir – a trust run by Purohit – by forging documents, claimed Uke in his complaint.