Knives out against Eknath Khadse in BJP over purchase of MIDC plot?

Mumbai: Firefighting the allegations of misuse of power in a land deal, Maharashtra Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse today said nothing materialised on acquisition of the land in last four decades and that purchase transaction and acquisition were two separate legal processes.

Eknath Khadse
Eknath Khadse

The alleged involvement of the minister in buying a plot owned by Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) near Pune, seems to have isolated him as party sources claimed that it would be difficult for them to defend Khadse further as the land title was not clear.

A Pune-based construction professional Hemant Gavande had recently accused Khadse of purchasing the three-acre land in Bhosari for a throwaway price at approximately Rs 3.75 crore from the original owner in the name of his wife Mandakini and son-in-law Girish Chaudhary. Gavande claimed that the market value of the land was Rs 40 crore.

Gavande had alleged that the land was purchased on April 28, 2016 from the original owner Abbas Ukani, a resident of West Bengal, keeping its present owner, MIDC, in the dark.

Khadse had denied changing reservation of the MIDC plot at Bhosari as acquisition process was in progress.

In a fresh statement issued here today, the minister said, "40 years have passed and there is neither any compensation paid nor any hearing taken place in the case of land acquisition by the MIDC".

"The original owner of the land, Abbas Rasoolbhai Ukani, had filed a writ petition in the High Court for vacating the claim of the MIDC on his land and restoring the same to him again.

"Ukani had also demanded finalising the land acquisition process and payment of the compensation to him in respect of the land acquisition verdict," the statement said. Meanwhile, a source in BJP said the state BJP leadership has conveyed to Central leaders that the land title in connection with the MIDC plot bought by Khadse was not clear and hence it would be difficult for them to defend the minister.

According to the source, BJP president Amit Shah was believed to have sent an indirect message to Khadse to remain quiet and desist from making statements in the media.

"We have conveyed to our Central leaders that it will be difficult to defend Khadse as we are not yet clear about the land deal," the source added.

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