Laxman Jagtap (51), who is known as the TDR (transfer of development rights) King of Pune, on Monday set tongues wagging by putting his collective assets at a measly Rs 4.5 crore in his affidavit filed at the Maval election office at PCMC headquarters in Pimpri. Not stopping at this, he also identified himself as “an ordinary person”.
Jagtap, who travels in Land Cruisers, BMWs and Innovas, also declared in his affidavit that he owns “no vehicle”. Ironically, around 500 vehicles, mostly Scorpios that cost between Rs 8.5 lakh and Rs 13 lakh, followed Jagtap — who came in an open jeep to file his nomination on the ticket of the Peasants and Workers Party.
He also paraded the support of Raj Thackeray-led MNS as many party workers were among the crowd that blocked the Pune-Mumbai highway from his residence in Pimple Gurav to the PCMC headquarters. The cavalcade took nearly three hours to cover a distance of five km.
Believed to be a multi-millionaire, Jagtap evaded a question on his total assets. “Three of my chartered accountants will tell you…,” he said.
When he had contested the Assembly elections in 2009, his total worth was estimated to be Rs 10 crore and he also owned a scooter. Asked about his depleting assets, Jagtap said, “No, I am not a rich man.”
Jagtap owns a one-acre bungalow in Pimple Gurav area, which is said to be one of its kind in Pimpri-Chinchwad. “I can’t believe he owns measly assets,” said AAP candidate Maruti Bhapkar. Politicians who know him from close quarters preferred to stay mum.
Jagtap, who had been an associate MLA of NCP, controls the cash-rich Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, which has a budget of Rs 3,000 crore. His brothers and sister-in-law have been PCMC corporators.
In the last 10 years since he staged a coup of sorts by winning the legislative council elections as an NCP rebel leader, Jagtap and NCP MLA Vilas Lande are said to control the TDR market. “He bought land from distressed farmers at low rates and handed it over to the PCMC. In return, he got compensation in the form of TDRs, which he sold to builders at a much higher rate. The PCMC, which could not acquire land from citizens forcefully, did it through Jagtap,” said Sarang Kamtekar, who could not find a single TDR deal in Jagtap’s name in PCMC records.
“Since Jagtap is known as the TDR king, I had moved an RTI application with the Pimpri civic body. Surprisingly, there is not a single TDR deal in his name,” he said. Apparently, Jagtap carries out all his deals in the name of his partners and brothers. Even the Income Tax Department, which carried out a survey of his properties, failed to locate any “wrongdoing”, said IT sources.
Jagtap apparently also put Deputy CM and NCP leader Ajit Pawar into place and has been virtually calling the shots in PCMC. He is said to be behind the transfer of Municipal Commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi, who had stopped corruption and the TDR business during his one-and-half-year tenure.
In the latest instance, Jagtap refused NCP nomination, reiterating that he can win elections single-handedly like he did in the past. The moment he announced his candidature, over 30 NCP corporators extended support to him despite Pawar’s threat to expel him.