The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has submitted a detailed report in a Pune court, in connection with the case of alleged irregularities in the purchase of MIDC land near the city, involving former Maharashtra revenue minister Eknath Khadse, officials said. However, the ACB refused to divulge details of the report, even as Khadse exuded confidence of coming out clean in the probe. Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said in Mumbai that they will have to see, whether the court accepts the report or not.
After an investigation into the case, the Pune Police’s ACB submitted the report to the ACB court in Pune. When contacted, ACB’s superintendent of police Sandeep Diwan, on May 1, 2018, said, “The report was submitted to the court on April 27. It is a detailed investigation report, running into 22 pages.” However, Diwan refused to give any details of the report, saying the matter was sub-judice.
A Pune-based businessman, Hemant Gawande, had, in May 2016, filed a complaint with the Bund Garden police in the matter. He had alleged that Khadse misused his power as a minister and purchased a land in Pune’s Bhosari area, owned by the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), in the name of his relatives at Rs 3.75 crores, as against the market price of Rs 40 crores. Based on the complaint, the Pune ACB had registered an FIR against Khadse, his wife, son-in-law and the original land owner, Abbas Ukkani, under relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 109 of the Indian Penal Code, in April 2017.
Khadse had resigned in June 2016, after he was accused of using his post as the revenue minister, to facilitate the land deal in favour of his wife and son-in-law. When contacted, Khadse said, “Ever since the allegations were made against me, I was confident that I will come out clean. In this case also, I am confident that the ACB’s report will not have anything against me.”
Revenue minister Chandrakant Patil said that if the ACB has given a clean chit to Khadse in its report, then it is a welcome move. “I have not verified the details of the ACB report, on former minister and BJP leader Eknath Khadse,” he said. Asked whether Khadse would return to the cabinet, Patil said, “Let the court first decide on it but if Khadse comes out clean, I will be very happy, just like many other BJP workers.”