Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday announced a stay on all transactions related to the land in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, till the judicial probe, which he ordered on Thursday, is completed.
Fadnavis has directed the revenue department to ensure that no third party interest is created and no transaction takes place in relation to the land until the judicial probe is concluded.
At the state legislative council on Friday, the chief minister said: “The government has taken the decision to stay transaction and development related to the Kharghar land. A judicial probe was ordered on Thursday and since we have ordered the probe, no transaction will take place till the investigation is complete.”
Twenty-four hectares of land in Kharghar was allotted to eight Koyna project affected persons (PAP), who then sold it to a private developer. Earlier this week, Congress leaders had alleged that those close to the chief minister had played the role of facilitators in getting the land sold to private developer Manish Bhatija. While market rate of the land was Rs 1,700 crore, Bhatija got the plot at a pittance from the PAP, they had alleged.
Reiterating that the chief minister had no role to play in the land deal, Fadnavis said: “From the very beginning, I have said we will not compromise on transparency and accountability. The fact that I ordered a judicial probe into the Kharghar land deal is testimony to our clear intentions. We want the truth to come out in public through the judicial probe. If any wrongdoing comes to fore, strictest action will be taken against the wrong doers.”
The land ownership has also become a point of debate. While Fadnavis said it belongs to the state government, the Congress believes it was under the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO).
The Leader of Opposition, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, said: “The CM’s decision to stay all transactions has vindicated our stand. We had demanded a judicial probe and cancellation of the deal. We believe the speed with which the land allotted to the PAPS was sanctioned and sold to the builder shows there was someone very powerful in the government who was moving the administration. Moreover, the builder got the land at Rs 3.60 crore. Whereas, the market price of the land is Rs 1,700 crore.” He added: “We have adequate documents to substantiate our charges of wrongdoing.”
A senior officer in the government said: “The judicial probe, along with the stay order, will help in free and fair investigation. There are clear directives to get to the roots and bare the facts.”