The Bombay High Court has directed the police to file a case against leader of opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde in connection with alleged illegal purchase of government land in Beed district.
A division bench of Justices TV Nalawade and KK Sonawane gave the directions on the petition filed by Rajabhau Phad.
According to the petition, the land at Pus village in Ambajogai tehsil of Beed belongs to the government and was given to the Belkhandi Math in Beed as gift when Ranit Wyanka Giri was its mahant. However, as per law, the land cannot be transferred without the government's permission.
After Mr Giri's death, his heirs transferred the land in their names and claimed that they are its owners while the government was not informed about it.
The land was later bought by Dhananjay Munde on the basis of a general power of attorney in 2012. Mr Munde applied for non-agricultural status (NA) of the land and got it, the petition alleged.
The petitioner had approached the Bardapur police station in Beed seeking a criminal case to be lodged against Mr Munde, his wife and others. However, when the police failed to initiate a probe, Mr Phad approached the high court claiming that the land originally belonged to the government and hence, cannot be sold to anyone.
He sought an FIR be lodged under IPC Sections 420 (cheating), 467, 468 and 471 (forgery) against Mr Munde, his wife and 15 others.
Mr Munde's lawyer Siddheshwar Thombre said there was a dispute between then Math mahant and priest of the trust on this land. He said the matter was taken to court and on the basis of decree, another person became the owner of the land, adding that in 2012, Mr Munde bought the land from that person by adhering to all legal procedures.
It was not mentioned anywhere that the land belonged to the government, Mr Munde's lawyer said while asserting that the entire process was legal.
The Aurangabad bench of the high court, however, said prima facie it appears the government land was usurped and hence, directed the Bardapur police to file a case against Mr Munde and others and probe the allegations. Thombre later said they would move the Supreme Court.
Mr Munde said the land for the Jagmitra Sugar Mills was purchased "as per rules and without hoodwinking anyone". He accused Mr Phad of filing the complaint against him out of "political vendetta". Mr Phad is the son-in-law of businessman Ratnakar Gutte, whom Mr Munde had previously accused of securing loan in the name of farmers.
Mr Munde also said he would approach the top court against the high court order.