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Navi Mumbai land deal: Sena asks Fadnavis to come clean

The Shiv Sena today asked Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to “come clean” on the Congress’ charges of his “blessings” to an “illegal transfer” of 24 acres of government land worth Rs 1,767 in Navi Mumbai for a song to a business partner of a BJP MLC, allegedly “close” to him.

The BJP’s estranged ally pegged its demand on recent reports on Anti-Corruption Bureau giving earlier in May “clean chit” to former Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse, who had to step down in June 2016 on charges of facilitating a land deal in Pune in favour of his wife and son-in-law.

Latching onto the twin development, the Shiv Sena today said Fadnavis made Khadse sit at home (resign) on allegations of his involvement in a land scam, because he (the CM) is a believer in “transparent governance”.

“Now, either Khadse should be brought back in the ministerial council or the Chief Minister should come clean before the public (on Navi Mumbai land deal),” it said in an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’

The Congress had on Monday alleged that the government land worth Rs 1,767 crore in Navi Mumbai was given to a private builder for just Rs 3.60 crore, claiming that the transaction had the “blessings” of Fadnavis.

Congress leaders Prithviraj Chavan and Sanjay Nirupam had charged the Fadnavis-led Urban Development Department with helping private developer Manish Bhatija “illegally acquire” 24 acres of the notified CIDCO land at Kharghar, Navi Mumbai in the name of compensating the group, Projects-Affected People (PAPs).

Bhatija is a business partner of BJP MLC Prasad Lad, who is close to Fadnavis, Nirupam had claimed.

Clamping onto the allegations, the Sena said documents pertaining to the alleged scam suggest Fadnavis’ proximity to Lad because of which his name was dragged in the case.

“The Congress was part of several scams. It repudiated each allegation of a scam (when in power). The chief minister too has rejected the charges of CIDCO land scam,” it said.

“He (CM) called the allegation as childishness of the frustrated Congress. But documents suggest the Chief Minister’s proximity to Lad has cost him,” said the Sena, which is an ally of the ruling BJP at the Centre and in Maharashtra.

The allegations, made in the run up to the on-going monsoon session of the state Assembly, must have “startled” the chief minister, it said.

The BJP would find itself “restless” as it is Chavan, a former Chief Minister himself, who has levelled the charges “with evidences”, said the Sena mouthpiece.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led party also questioned the “speed” at which files pertaining to the acquisition and denotification of the land allotted to the PAPs were cleared.

According to the Congress, the land was allotted to PAPs on February 26 this year. The mutation of the land was done on May 14.

“As per norms, the farmers cannot sell their land for 10 years (after allotment). Then how come the officials concerned kept quite while the Rs 1,700 crore transaction was being carried out and the government was being cheated? Under whose pressure was the scam carried out?” the Sena asked.

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