Former Maharashtra ministers deny allegations of getting land cheap for trusts

Former Maharashtra ministers file affidavit in HC denying favours received from Maharashtra government in getting land
at throwaway prices to set up educational trusts

Former Maharashtra Agriculture Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil has denied allegations levelled in a PIL that government land had been allotted to educational institution 'Vikhe Pratisthan' at throwaway prices.

Stating that Vikhe Patil was not a trustee of 'Vikhe Pratisthan', the affidavit, filed recently in the Bombay High Court, termed as "baseless" the allegations levelled in the PIL, filed by RTI and social activist Hemant Patil on the basis of a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report.

"The land was allotted to this institution in keeping with a government notification of June 21, 1988, which had offered plots at low prices for schools not having playgrounds. No rules have been violated in giving land to Vikhe Pratisthan," the affidavit said.

Another former minister Patangrao Kadam, who was among the respondents, had filed an affidavit earlier denying
favours received from Maharashtra government in getting land at cheap rates to set up educational trusts.

He said land for his Bharti Vidyapeeth Trust in Pune was obtained from Maharashtra government as per rules and there was no illegality. "All rules had been strictly followed," the affidavit claimed saying that the PIL's allegations are "false".

Kadam's affidavit said that the PIL was "politically motivated" and should be dismissed with costs since the allegations were totally "false".

Meanwhile, the high court asked former Maharashtra ministers Narayan Rane and Chhagan Bhujbal and some other politicians, respondents in the same PIL, to file their replies by March 9 in response to the PIL which alleged that they had been allotted land at cheap rates by the government to set up educational trusts.

The direction was given recently by a bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Anil Memon who were hearing the PIL.

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