The Bombay High Court Tuesday directed police to file a case against Dhananjay Munde, the leader of opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council, in connection with alleged illegal purchase of government land in Beed district.
A division bench of Justices T V Nalawade and K K Sonawane gave the directions on the petition filed by one Rajabhau Phad.
According to the petition, the land at Pus village in Ambajogai tehsil of Beed belongs to the government and was given to the Belkhandi Math in Beed as gift when Ranit Wyanka Giri was its mahant.
However, as per law, the land cannot be transferred without the government’s permission.
But after the death of Giri, his heirs transferred the land in their names and claimed that they are its owners and the government was not informed about it.
The land was later bought by Munde on the basis of a general power of attorney in 2012. Munde applied for non-agricultural status (NA) of the land and got it, the petition alleged.
Phad had approached the Bardapur police station in Beed seeking a criminal case to be lodged against Munde, his wife and others.
However, when the police failed to initiate a probe, Phad approached the high court claiming that the land originally belonged to the government and hence, cannot be sold to anyone.
He sought an FIR be lodged under IPC Sections 420 (cheating), 467, 468 and 471 (forgery) against Munde, his wife and 15 others.
Munde’s lawyer Siddheshwar Thombre said there was a dispute between the then Math mahant and priest of the trust on this land.
He said the matter was taken to court and on the basis of decree, another person became the owner of the land, adding that in 2012, Munde bought the land from that person by adhering to all legal procedures.
It was not mentioned anywhere that the land belonged to the government, Munde’s lawyer said while asserting that the entire process was legal.
The Aurangabad bench of the high court, however, said prima facie it appears the government land was usurped and hence, directed the Bardapur police to file a case against Munde and others and probe the allegations.
Thombre later told reporters that they would move the Supreme Court.
Reacting to the court order, Munde asserted that the land for the Jagmitra Sugar Mills was purchased “as per rules and without hoodwinking anyone”.
He accused Phad of filing the complaint against him out of “political vendetta”. Phad is the son-in-law of businessman Ratnakar Gutte, whom Munde had previously accused of securing loan in the name of farmers.
Munde also said he would approach the apex court against the high court’s order.
The NCP leader had last year alleged that Gutte got loans of over Rs 5,400 crore on the basis of fake documents made in the name of farmers.
Munde then also alleged that Gutte, the promoter of Gangakhed Sugar and Energy Limited in the state’s Parbhani district, had transferred bank loans obtained by various firms into different accounts.
“The land meant for the mill was purchased as per rules, without hoodwinking any organisation, individual or the government. The ruling was obtained from the honourable high court through Phad out of political vendetta, as I had raised a matter relating to Gutte,” Munde said in a statement.
He said documents relating to the mill support his position that there was nothing wrong in the purchase of land and exuded confidence that the Supreme Court will give him relief in the case.
“I raise voice on the issues of public concern and that’s why such conspiracy is devised against me ahead of each session of the legislature. I will keep raising voice against the government no matter how many personal attacks are directed at me,” Munde added.