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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Maharashtra Ajit Pawar denies Borwankars charge points finger at then home ministers

Maharashtra: Ajit Pawar denies Borwankar’s charge, points finger at then home ministers

Updated on: 18 October,2023 07:39 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dharmendra Jore |

Former Pune CP says leader’s faction is free to send her defamation notice, instances of govt land being given to builders must be reviewed

Maharashtra: Ajit Pawar denies Borwankar’s charge, points finger at then home ministers

Former Pune police chief Meeran Borwankar (right). File Pic/Satej Shinde

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has denied any role in a public-private partnership (PPP) in which the police department was to get residential and office complexes built in exchange for a three-acre plot of land in Yerawada in Pune. He was responding to allegations that have been made by former Pune police chief Meeran Borwankar in her book.

According to Borwankar, Pawar, the then guardian minister of Pune, had asked her to expedite the transfer of Yerawada police land to a private company that had entered into a PPP agreement with the home department. In exchange for the prime land, the developers were to construct police stations, residential and office complexes in Yerawada and on the company's land somewhere else in the city. After being posted in Pune, Borwankar refused to part with the Yerawada land.

Ajit’s version

On Tuesday, Pawar said, when he was told about the delay, he had asked Borwankar about it. “I merely asked Borwankar about the progress. She said she wasn’t interested in handing over the land. And I forgot about it,” he said, adding that the PPP land deal was scrapped not because of Borwankar but because the enforcement agency had attached the land where the builder had planned to build the police housing units.

Ajit Pawar, deputy chief minister
Ajit Pawar, deputy chief minister

Pawar said the decision of agreement was taken by then Home Minister R R Patil (2008) and a committee appointed by the government. The matter was followed up by R R Patil's successor Jayant Patil (2009). “Let them probe. I haven't signed a document or attended a meeting,” he said, adding, “Most importantly, the land is still there and in possession of the police department. What will they investigate?”

According to Pawar, the government panel had recommended a PPP deal, saying that against a land piece worth R3 crore, the police department stood to get the assets worth Rs 15 core. Borwankar's predecessor Satyapal Singh, who later became a Union minister of state for home, was very much interested in the deal, he said, wondering whether the controversy, raked up after 15 years, was a marketing stunt to boost book sales.

‘Probe nexus’

Borwankar on Monday said there was a need to review (instances of) government land given to builders as there was a nexus among politicians, builders, bureaucrats and the police. In the book, Borwankar claimed she had opposed the land being handed over to the builder, who was cited as an accused by the CBI in the 2G telecom scam.

Queried on the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) faction of Ajit Pawar thinking of sending her a defamation case notice if she failed to prove her allegations, Borwankar said they could do so.

“No one has read the book. Without reading the book, a headline was given that the police land was auctioned by Ajitdada. But in reality, it did not happen that way. The then-divisional commissioner (Dilip Bund) has taken responsibility that the land was auctioned by him,” the former Pune police commissioner told reporters in Delhi.

Claiming that police officials had been calling her since Sunday to thank her for saving the department’s land, Borwankar said, “This is not the only case. We all know that builders vie for government lands but it is our collective responsibility to safeguard such lands and utilise it for public interest.”

After she put her foot down on the land transfer, the builder, who she identified as “Shahid Balwa”, went to court, Borwankar said. Asked about the then state home minister’s (R R Patil) stand on the issue, she said he had called a meeting of officials, including the home secretary, and had contended there should be no problem in handing over the land.

“However, when we (the police) explained our position that, if we let go of this land, then no one would hand over a three-acre plot to construct police offices and residential quarters, the home minister changed his stand. The court was then apprised that the state government had changed its decision,” she claimed.

‘Sought transfer to CID as ADG’

Asked whether she implied in the book that she was transferred before the end of her tenure (as Pune commissioner) as she had opposed Pawar, Borwankar said, “The tenure was of two years. When the transfer orders came, I was asked about my preferred choice of posting. I sought a transfer to the CID as ADG (additional director general of police) as the post was vacant.”

Borwankar claimed the then chief minister told her “they” are not agreeing (to making her ADG, CID) and that he had to follow “coalition dharma”. The Congress and NCP were running a government in alliance at the time and the latter had the home department under which the police function.

Borwankar, after her stint as Pune CP, was transferred to the Pune-headquartered State Prisons Department as ADG. She was Pune police commissioner between 2010 and 2012. Asked whether a “political” colour was being given to the (land) episode, Borwankar said the book (manuscript) had been given to the publisher a year ago.

They (the publisher) took the time to edit and the book was in the printing process for the last two months. “There is a need to review all government land given to builders,” Borwankar asserted.

With inputs from Agencies

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