The state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Friday arrested Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse’s ‘personal aide’ Gajanan Patil for allegedly demanding a Rs 30-crore bribe from a Mumbai-based social entrepreneur over a land allotment matter.
Economist Dr Ramesh Jadhav, a former director with the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management, had approached Khadse’s office seeking a review of a previous government order regarding allotment of a 10-hectare revenue land in Kalyan’s Nilje village. Official documents reviewed by The Indian Express show that while the government had in August 2009 declared an intention to allot this plot of land to Jadhav’s trust and had even collected Rs 77.44 lakh as initial payment, the land was eventually allotted to the state transport department for a vehicle inspection centre on March 29, 2014.
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While the government refunded Jadhav’s payment, the latter had challenged the government’s decision. Jadhav’s statement to the ACB alleged that Patil had initially demanded a bribe of Rs 1 crore and a flat from Jadhav to settle the matter in his favour.
Khadse issued a statement distancing himself from the controversy immediately after Patil’s arrest. He clarified that Patil was just a worker from his constituency — Muktainagar in Jalgaon. “He was not employed officially or in private capacity with the minister’s office in any manner.” Distancing himself from the controversy, Khadse said, “If someone has misused my name and he is found guilty than strict action must be taken against him.”
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Jadhav has also approached the Lokayukta’s office, where he has allegedly raised allegations of graft and misuse of office against Khadse and his OSD Unmesh Mahajan too. An ACB official has ruled out any more arrests. “We have taken action against the person for whom the complaint was made and the allegations could be verified,” he said.