Year after HC order,CBI yet to take over probe

The judges came down heavily on the state government for not taking prompt action to investigate the scam and not informing the court about its progress.

Written by NEERAD PANDHARIPANDE | Published: March 13, 2012 4:45 am

Over a year after the Bombay High Court directed the transfer of investigations in an alleged land ceiling scam in Pune to the CBI,the agency has still not taken over the probe.

The revelation was made by public prosecutor Pandurang Pol before the Division Bench of Justice P B Majmudar and Justice R D Dhanuka on Monday. “The CBI has not yet taken over the investigations and the case is at present being probed by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Maharashtra government,” Pol said.

However,he could not immediately give any reason for the same as no officer was present in court. The judges,meanwhile,came down heavily on the state government for not taking prompt action to investigate the scam and not informing the court about its progress. They asked the state government not to give “any reason to doubt the bonafide intentions of the investigating officers.”

“It is unfortunate that no report has been submitted to the court and that no investigating officer is present,in spite of the fact that this is a criminal public interest litigation.”

The court also refused to make any concession on account of the fact that the case is going on in Pune.

“Pune is a part of Maharashtra and India—the officer can remain present.” Justice P B Majmudar also asked whether there was any beneficiary of lax action on the part of investigating officers.

The petition in the case was filed by Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Madhav Bhandari,who alleged that bogus orders were passed between 1976 and 2005 to avoid surrendering land to the state government and allowing it to be allocated instead to private parties.

Before transferring the case to the CBI,a bench of the High Court had opined that it was one of the biggest scams in the country and termed it as a “mini- 2G scam”.

The court went on to note that lakhs of square feet of land could have been misused on account of false orders passed by the revenue department.

The judges had noted that as some of the land owners and developers alleged to be involved are “heavyweights”,the case should be transferred to the CBI.

The case will now be heard on March 19.

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