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TDR scam: Another held; Kharwadkar,2 others get bail

The Anti Corruption Bureau on Tuesday arrested Capt Ashok Vishwanath Deshpande (67),who was the additional commissioner,Pune Municipal Corporation in 1999-2000...

The Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Tuesday arrested Capt Ashok Vishwanath Deshpande (67),who was the additional commissioner,Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC),in 1999-2000,for alleged involvement in the transfer of development rights (TDR) scam. An ACB team,led by inspector Sanjay Bhamre,held Deshpande in Shivajinagar on Tuesday. Deshpande,now retired,is a resident of Baner.

The three arrested on Monday,PMC’s additional city engineer (roads) Vivek Madhukar Kharwadkar,retired assistant engineer of PMC Arun Mahadev Joshi,and a builder staying in Shivajinagar,Shekhar Chandrakant Savkar,were granted interim bail by Additional Sessions Judge P R Bora on Tuesday. Public prosecutor Ujjwala Pawar demanded that considering the serious nature of the crime,the accused be taken in police custody. “He (Kharwadkar ) could tamper with documents and evidence,as he works with the PMC,” Pawar argued.

Advocate Pratap Pardeshi,representing Kharwadkar and Joshi,said there was no signature of Kharwadkar on one of the TDR certificates and in the other instances,though he had given a written objection to granting of TDR,the TDR Committee had gone ahead and granted it. Besides,Kharwadkar is not the final authority to grant TDR,argued the defence lawyer,who said a search at the house of the accused had not yielded any evidence.

Advocate Sudheer Shah,Savkar’s defence counsel,said the case was filed in 2005. “The prosecution had ample time to collect evidence since then. The accused,if he had any intention to tamper with evidence,could have done it in the past four years.”

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The court observed that there was no case made out requiring custodial interrogation of the accused,as the evidence to be collected in may be in the form of documents only. Apprehensions of the prosecution that evidence may be tampered with can be laid to rest by imposing stringent conditions on the accused,the court said and granted interim bail to all the three accused on a surety of Rs 15,000 each. They were asked to be present in court on Wednesday. The court directed the accused not to tamper with evidence or influence persons concerned with the case.

The Scam
In October 2005,PMC corporator Nitin Jagtap filed a police complaint naming 17 officers of the Land Records Department of the PMC. ACB took over the investigation in the case in January 2006.

According to the ACB,the TDR certificate of land in Kasba Peth under green zone was illegally granted to builder Shekhar Savkar. The suspects had allegedly given double (200 per cent) the TDR for the 845 square-metre of acquired land in survey number 932,Kasba Peth,while the actual TDR should have been only four per cent of the area. According to the ACB,Deshpande,Kharwadkar and Joshi conspired to illegally grant the TDR certificate to Savkar.

First published on: 17-06-2009 at 11:40:14 pm
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