In a major setback to the CBI in the probe into an alleged land scam brought to light by slain RTI activist Satish Shetty, a court in Pune on Wednesday discharged two accused Virendra Mhiaskar of IRB Infrastructure Developers Limited and Deepak Gadgil, project manager with IRB’s subsidiary, of all charges. The two firms were also discharged. The decision comes within three months of filing of chargesheet.
Based on documents obtained under RTI, Shetty had lodged a complaint of cheating and forgery at the Lonavala city police station on October 15, 2009, against Mhaiskar and several others, including the then sub registrar Ashwini Kshirsagar, alleging illegal purchase of land in Ozarde and Pimploli villages in Maval taluka of Pune district.
A few days after he lodged the FIR, Shetty started receiving threats and on November 24, 2009, he filed an application with the rural police seeking protection. On January 13, 2010, he was murdered with sharp weapons around 7 am in Talegaon Dabhade. The murder case is also being probed by the CBI.
According to the CBI, about 73.88 hectares were acquired by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation for the Pune-Mumbai Expressway. But the accused, including office bearers of IRB subsidiary Aryan Infrastructure Investments Private Limited and Jyo Development Corporation, officials, land agents and farmers, allegedly conspired to grab the said land. In the chargesheet filed in December last year, the CBI had named 14 persons , besides IRB and AIIPL as the accused.