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HC asks magistrate to decide on report in whistleblower case

scThe Court Bombay High Court today asked the magistrate in Maval taluka of Pune district to decide on the closure report filed by police in case of alleged forgery and cheating in land deals exposed by slain whistleblower Satish Shetty.

The direction was given by Justice N A Patil who asked the magistrate in Maval taluka to reconsider the C-Summary (closure report) and decide on it.

The matter has been posted after two weeks.

Earlier, the court had asked the state to file an affidavit explaining on what basis it had filed a closure report and had concluded that no offences have been attracted under IPC in this case.

CBI had moved the High Court seeking to quash an order of the Maval magistrate accepting the closure report filed by the police. In its petition, the central agency sought reinvestigation into alleged bogus land deals.

According to CBI counsel H R Venegaonkar, huge tracts of land were acquired by the state government from villagers near Lonavala for Mumbai-Pune Expressway, which became operational in 2002. However, these lands were fraudulently sold in bogus deals by IRB Developers.

CBI argued that once the land was acquired by the government for the highway project and compensation paid to the villagers, the property was vested in the state and could not be given away or returned to the original owners.

The agency pleaded that entries in 7/12 extracts (a revenue document of land ownership) were interpreted to mean the land was returned to the villagers and IRB purchased the same from them through bogus sale deeds.

The police closed the case by filing a C-summary report in a court at Lonavala in Pune district. It concluded that the deals did not attract offences under IPC because they were made between the parties due to “misunderstanding” that the land had been returned to the villagers, CBI said.

It was also alleged that RTI activist and whistleblower Satish Shetty was killed after he exposed these land deals.

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