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Kejriwal's latest 'expose' can cause major trouble for Ajit Pawar

Thursday, 18 October 2012 - 10:30am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna
According to documents, Pawar is a signatory to the decisions made by the Nagpur-based Vidharbha Irrigation Development Corporation granting Nitin Gadkari over 36 hectares of land.

The latest “expose” by India Against Corruption (IAC) targeting BJP president Nitin Gadkari could cause major legal problems for former state irrigation minister Ajit Pawar.

According to documents accessed under the RTI Act, Pawar is a signatory to the decisions made by the Nagpur-based Vidharbha Irrigation Development Corporation granting Gadkari over 36 hectares of land.

This decision is in clear contravention of a Supreme Court order passed in 1996 that ruled that land once acquired for public use, cannot be given away to any private party.

In a judgment passed by the apex court on May 5, 1997 (The state of Kerala vs M Bhaskaran Pillai) had clearly said that “it is settled law” that once land “acquired for a public purpose” was achieved, the “rest of the land could be used for any other” public purpose. It went on to add that “in case there is no other public purpose for which the land is needed, then instead of disposal by way of sale”, the land should be put to public auction and the amount fetched in the public auction can be better utilised for the public purpose envisaged in the directive principles of the Constitution.

Clearly, Pawar, as the minister, and the bureaucrats who decided to lease the land to Gadkari’s organisation for 99 years, ignored the judgment, making it a fit case for contempt of court.

The irrigation department of Maharshtra is aware of this judgment since they have cited this in several other cases when similar demands came their way. Much of the land acquired for the Pavana dam near Pune to supply water to the industrial town of Pimpri Chinchwad had been left unused after the dam came up.

While the villagers had petitioned the Pune district collector for the return of the unused land, the irrigation department had cited this very judgment to deny the land to the farmers. The land was sold off to film stars like Amitabh Bachchan while the farmers became landless.

By agreeing to lease the land to Gadkari’s organisation, Pawar and the other officials failed to retain it for public use or auction it as was laid down by the Supreme Court. This could create legal issues for the former irrigation minister who has been demanding a white paper on the allegations against him. The latest “expose” by India Against Corruption (IAC) targeting BJP President Nitin Gadkari could cause major legal problems for former state irrigation minister Ajit Pawar.

According to documents accessed under the RTI Act, Pawar is a signatory to the decisions made by the Nagpur-based Vidharbha Irrigation Development Corporation granting Gadkari over 36 hectares of land. This decision is in clear contravention of a Supreme Court order of 1996 that ruled that land once acquired for public use, cannot be given away to any private party.

In a judgment passed by the apex court on May 5, 1997 (The state of Kerala vs M Bhaskaran Pillai) had clearly said that “it is settled law” that once land “acquired for a public purpose” was achieved, the “rest of the land could be used for any other” public purpose. It went on to add that “in case there is no other public purpose for which the land is needed, then instead of disposal by way of sale”, the land should be put to public auction and the amount fetched in the public auction can be better utilised for the public purpose envisaged in the directive principles of the Constitution.

Clearly, Pawar, as the minister, and the bureaucrats who decided to lease the land to Gadkari’s organisation for 99 years, ignored the judgment, making it a fit case for contempt of court.

The irrigation department of Maharshtra is aware of this judgment since they have cited this in several other cases when similar demands came their way. Much of the land acquired for the Pavana dam near Pune to supply water to the industrial town of Pimpri Chinchwad had been left unused after the dam came up.

While the villagers had petitioned the Pune district collector for the return of the unused land, the irrigation department had cited this very judgment to deny the land to the farmers. The land was sold off to film stars like Amitabh Bachchan while the farmers became landless.

By agreeing to lease the land to Gadkari’s organisation, Pawar and the other officials failed to retain it for public use or auction it as was laid down by the Supreme Court. This could create legal issues for the former irrigation minister who has been demanding a white paper on the allegations against him.




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