Maharashtra Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse, who courted controversy after he bought a three-acre plot in Pune’s Bhosari area earlier this year, told The Indian Express Thursday that he would return the land to Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) if it is proved that the title of the land is not clear.
“I am willing to return the land free of cost if they (MIDC) can prove that they acquired the land and paid necessary compensation to the owner,” he said.
The minister bought the plot on April 28 for Rs 3.75 crore from Kolkata-based Abbas Rasul Ukani. The actual worth of the plot is reportedly Rs 25 crore.
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“The MIDC had expressed interest in acquiring the plot in 1971. But, for the last 45 years, there has not been any movement on this front. Do you think that being a revenue minister, I would not verify documents before buying land?,’’ asked Khadse.
He said there was no question of the land having been acquired as the owner had not been paid compensation. “They (MIDC) might have expressed interest, but the acquisition was not carried out,” he said.
“What matters is the title of the land and as of now, that belongs to the owner. If the title is not clear, I will give up the land immediately,” said Khadse.
The state BJP unit, it is learnt, has pulled up Khadse over the controversy.
Pune builder Hemant Gavande, who first raked up the land deal issue, said he has documents that reveal that while Khadse sailed through the land deal, another party had faced problems when it tried to buy the plot in 2010. “In 2010, one Yashwant Walimbe expressed interest in buying the plot. In the course of the deal, MIDC raised objections. How can there be different rules for different people?’’ he asked.
Gavande added that he has documents to prove that the plot, which has been purchased by Khadse’s wife Mandakini and Girish Dayaram Chaudhary, was marked for setting up industries in a land survey conducted by MIDC. “How can the minister claim that the title is clear?’’ he asked. He added that MIDC officials are not coming out in the open fearing political pressure. Gavande further said he would register an official complaint in the matter.