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Maharashtra government to decide in 2 weeks on slain RTI activist's land-grab complaint

Friday, 9 May 2014 - 7:00am IST | Agency: dna

The Maharashtra government has assured the Bombay high court on Thursday that it will decide within two weeks whether the complaint of alleged land grab filed by slain RTI activist Satish Shetty against Virendra Mhaiskar, chairman and managing director of Ideal Road Builders (IRB) Infrastructure Developers Limited, should be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

A division bench of Justice NH Patil and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai asked the government to decide expeditiously since they have been sitting on the CBI application for quite some time now.

As per the Delhi Police Establishment Act, which governs the CBI, the bureau can take over any investigation provided the order to that effect is passed either by a high court or a state government.

CBI counsel Hiten Venegaonkar said that on March 18, 2014, the Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC), Maval, had reopened Shetty's complaint against Mhaiskar while setting aside the closure report filed by the local police.

Consequently, the local police have to re-investigate Shetty's complaint afresh.

The CBI, which is probing the murder of the slain RTI activist, had approached the government in March saying that they should be allowed to take over the probe in Shetty's complaint against Mhasikar.

The central agency also filed a petition in the high court praying that they should be handed over the probe in Shetty's complaint as well. "The CBI has sought permission to conduct a fresh probe, saying that the investigation by the local police is faulty," argued Venegaonkar.

In October 2009, Shetty filed a complaint with the Lonavla city police against 13 people, including Mhaiskar and a sub-registrar, alleging land grab.

Shetty had alleged that land acquired by the government for the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, for which compensation was paid, was re-sold by the original owners to Aryan Infrastructure and Investment — an IRB Group company.

However, the local police filed a closure report in September 2011 saying that the police did not find any evidence to substantiate Shetty's allegations.

The high court had set aside the closure report and asked the JMFC to consider the same afresh. The JMFC set aside the closure report in March.

Shetty was stabbed to death near his house on January 13, 2010, when he had stepped out for morning walk.

The government has to inform the high court of its decision by June 19.

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