Mumbai, June 27 (IANS) The Maharashtra opposition parties on Thursday protested outside the legislature building, reiterating their demand for the resignation of Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil over alleged charges of corruption.
“The charges are indeed very serious and a SIT must be formed to investigate them,” said Leader of Opposition Vijay Wadettiwar.
Congress deputy leader in the house Naseem Khan said that till a probe is completed, the minister must resign from the government.
The legislators later shouted slogans against the minister and the government, demanding his sacking or resignation for his involvement in alleged land scams.
The issue snowballed after Nationalist Congress Party leader and former finance minister Jayant Patil on Wednesday accused Chandrakant Patil of allegedly misusing his powers to benefit realty developers which caused a huge loss to the exchequer in two land deals in Pune in 2018 and 2019.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis debunked Jayant Patil’s charges saying everything was done properly and there was no loss to the exchequer.
In the first case, Jayant Patil contended that around 42 acres of land belonging to a temple trust in Kesanand village was proclaimed as ‘private land’ by the minister, which was illegal and it was transferred without a premium fee being levied on the beneficiary.
The land, originally gifted to the Mhatoba Temple Devasthan in 1861 by the then Bombay Governor, was handed over to the Radhaswami Satsang which applied to the collector to regularize the deal and change the use to non-agricultural.
Jayant Patil claimed that when the revenue commission rejected the plea for not paying the premium fee, an appeal was made to the minister who allegedly said the land was ‘private’ and used his powers to clear the transaction without the payment of a premium fee. This caused a loss of at least Rs 42 crore to the government.
He cited another instance in which the minister allegedly favoured a private builder Umesh K. Wani of Shivpriya Realtors to grab a reserved playground plot in Balewadi, Pune.
Jayant Patil accused the revenue officials of conniving with the builder to get approval for his proposed housing scheme to show around 6000 sq. feet of an adjoining playground as part of his project, which was later approved.
After objections were raised by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Medha Kulkarni and a municipal corporator at this ‘playground grab’, the revenue department ordered a probe after which the so-called ‘mistake’ came to light.
However, the realtor approached Minister Patil, who reportedly helped him to get approval for his project in December 2018, said Jayant Patil.