A session court in Dhule Saturday sentenced former Maharashtra ministers Suresh Jain and Gulabrao Deokar along with 46 others to varying jail terms in the multi-crore ‘Gharkul’ housing scam.
Special Judge Srushti Neelkanth on Saturday sentenced Jain to seven years in jail and imposed a fine of Rs 100 crore on him, while NCP leader Deokar and sitting Shiv Sena MLA from Chopda Chandrakant Sonawane were sentenced to five years jail term. Two other accused, Rajendra Mayur and Jagannath Vani, were sentenced to seven years in jail and fined Rs 40 crore each.
In 1999, the Jalgaon Municipal Corporation had floated a proposal to construct 11,000 houses for the poor and taken a loan of around Rs 110 crore from HUDCO to fund the scheme. Tenders were reportedly floated even before land was acquired for the housing scheme. Subsequently, the corporation selected a land, which it did not own, for the project and selected a contractor — Khandesh Builders — to build the project.
Jain was allegedly the owner of the company which was given an advance of Rs 29 crore for the project. The bank guarantee money of the project was also allegedly diverted to the builder in violation of existing laws.
In 2006, former municipal commissioner of Jalgaon, Pravin Gedam, registered a complaint in the matter.
The case remained in cold storage till 2012 when a chargesheet was filed against a total of 52 people.
Jain, who had served as a minister in 1995-99 in the BJP-Shiv Sena government and later in the Congress-NCP Cabinet, was subsequently arrested in May 2012 along with Deokar. While Deokar was released on bail after three years, Jain spent more than four years in jail before being granted bail in 2016 by the Supreme Court.
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