Former Collector, Minister speak out against Rane

28 December,2010 06:50 AM IST |   |  Vinod Kumar Menon

Following MiD DAY's expose, former Raigad collector has accused Narayan Rane of 'overlooking basic facts' and circumventing the law to favour land grabbers

Following MiD DAY*s expose, former Raigad collector has accused Narayan Rane of *overlooking basic facts* and circumventing the law to favour land grabbers

MORE skeletons are tumbling out of former revenue minister Narayan Rane*s closet in the Sinnar temple land grab case.

Following MiD DAY*s report on Rane*s alleged pivotal role in the illegal sale of the land (Rs 100 cr land sold for just Rs 2.5 cr, MiD DAY, December 25), two other whistleblowers in the case a former Raigad collector and a former state energy minister have come forward with more evidence against him.

R S Rathodu00a0and Tukaram Dighole

In a PIL filed in the Bombay High Court, Rane was accused of declaring 73.11 acres of prime agricultural land belonging to the Chitleshwar Temple Trust as non-agricultural and taxable, thereby facilitating its illegal sale by relatives of the original trustees.
Within weeks of this order, 39.11 acres of the land, valued at Rs 100 crore, was sold for a mere Rs 2.5 crore.

The order was passed despite the Revenue Ministry having no jurisdiction over the land, which is recognised as Trust land under the Bombay Trust Act and comes under the jurisdiction of the Nashik Charity Commissioner, who was allegedly not even informed or consulted before the order was passed.

The PIL was filed on December 23 by Sanjay Deshpande, a stamp vendor in Sinnar, and MiD DAY was the first to break the story on December 25.

New allegations

Retired senior bureaucrat and former Raigad collector R S Rathod has accused Rane of overlooking the land*s entry in the register of non-taxable land, and circumventing provisions ofu00a0 Maharashtra Land Revenue Code (MLRC), 1967, to declare it taxable and non-agricultural.

Rathod said that the land in dispute is Inam (gifted) land under Category 3 (land gifted to temples).
"Rane has stated in his order that the survey number of the said land is not mentioned in the alienated land register (register of tax-exempt land), which is absolutely baseless. The register clearly mentions the land*s reference number (2843), which is as per MLRC rules.

The reference number is mentioned as it is not possible to put the entire details of the land in the register," he added.

Rathod said that Rane has referred to some Government Resolutions passed during the British regime in 1908 and 1913 and the Joglekar Manual as the basis for his order despite all such resolutions having been declared null and void after the MLRC came into effect.

"Rane has overlooked these basic facts and passed an order only to favour some people, who sold the land within weeks of the order. He passed the order without the knowledge of the charity commissioner, who is the custodian of the property," said Rathod.

"The land is registered under the Bombay Trust Act since 1953 and any violation of its provisions without prior permission of the charity commissioner attracts penal punishment under section 66 of the Act," he added.
Former State Energy Minister T S Dighole, who is from Sinnar, also held Rane responsible.

"Rane is instrumental in the scam and has acted in haste. He took decision in a case which was not in his jurisdiction. All this was done with vested interest and in connivance with officials like the Additional Collector, Tahsildar et cetera," said Dighole.


When the three whistleblowers were asked if they feared any consequences for raising the issue, they replied in the negative.

"We have raised our concern over an illegal activity and we do not fear anybody," said Deshpande.

The Other Side

When State Industry Minister and former revenue minister Narayan Rane was contacted for the article which appeared on December 25, he had said, "The power to convert non-agricultural land to agricultural land vests in the additional collector and I have no role to play in it.
If someone has already filed a PIL before the High Court, we will accept whatever the court has to say. I have no clue about this particular case."

Raigad Narayan Rane Sinnar temple land grab case R S Rathod Tukaram Dighole
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