After housing minister, now Maharashtra industries minister accused of land scam

Opposition parties in Maharashtra, have alleged that the state’s industries minister favoured builders, by de-notifying 12,000 hectares of MIDC land, bestowing benefits of Rs 20,000 crores on builders in the process

The opposition Congress and NCP, on August 8, 2017, alleged in the legislative council that Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra industries minister, Subhash Desai, favoured builders by de-notifying 12,000 hectares of land in the government’s possession. Desai, however, denied allegations of corruption, saying that the land, acquired by the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), was lying unused and he released it for the benefit of farmers, the original owners.

See also: Congress demands removal of Maharashtra housing minister over land scam

Dhananjay Munde (NCP), leader of the opposition in the council and his counterpart in the assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil (Congress) raised the issue of de-notification of MIDC land in Igatpuri area. “Desai de-notified 12,000 hectares of land from acquisition process and bestowed benefit of Rs 20,000 crores on builders. It is a big scam. It should be probed by a special investigation team,” Munde said in the upper house, adding that the minister should be removed from the cabinet till the probe is over. Desai ignored adverse remarks of the officials of his department while taking the decision, Munde said, alleging that the land belonged to Abhay Nahar, chairman of Nahar Developers, Kamlesh Waghrecha, director of Swastik Properties and builder Rajesh Mehta. “MIDC issues a notification to acquire land for projects. Once the land is reserved for MIDC, its price falls drastically. Then, the land mafia and builders buy it from the farmers at a cheap rate and later, apply to the government to de-notify it,” Munde said.

Desai defended his decision, saying that the land in question had remained unused. “The previous government had acquired huge tracts of land for the MIDC, which remained idle and unused. I have taken the decision only in favour of farmers and there is no corruption. The previous (Congress-led) government too had de-notified land, which was deemed unnecessary for the MIDC,” Desai claimed.

Last week, the opposition had also levelled allegations of corruption, against housing minister and BJP leader Prakash Mehta.


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