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HomeEditorialNilangekars — the habitual charlatans of Maharashtra politics: Part-II

Nilangekars — the habitual charlatans of Maharashtra politics: Part-II

Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar is the grandfather of Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar, a BJP leader who recentely came under the scanner in a loan defaulter case!  Shivajirao is a leader of Indian National Congress and former chief minister of Maharashtra. He was the chief minister from June 1985 to March 1986. He had to resign when the Bombay High Court passed strictures against him after his daughter’s marks in the MD exams found to have fabricated.

Shivajirao was also accused in Adarsh Housing Society scam. But later on, the CBI found no material or evidence to suggest any criminal misconduct on his part.

At the same time, CBI in its affidavit said that probe into benami transactions was still in progress as the minister holds many benami lands to his kitty. His rule was the shortest of all chief ministers of Maharashtra.

The Mumbai police had booked former Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar in a case of cheating and criminal breach of trust. The FIR accused Nilangekar of defrauding the Marathwada Mitra Mandal Trust, a registered public charitable trust, over a 11,000 square metre plot of prime land in Mumbai’s Bandra. Nilangekar has been at the helm of the trust since 1983. Dr Mohan Deshmukh, the trust’s secretary and the complainant in the case, had accused him of illegally entering into land deals with two construction firms to parcel out 62 per cent of the built-up area of the Bandra plot. The trust, which was founded by another former chief minister, late Shankarrao Chavan, was originally leased the 11,000 square metre plot, partly reserved for a police station and staff quarters, opposite the Bandra collector’s office in 1981 at Re 1 per square metre for a hostel and a community centre.

In 2009, the trust obtained permission to change the intended use of the plot to ‘Engineering and Management College’ on occupancy basis after paying a revised rate of Rs 11.83 crore. But 35 years later, the plot is still vacant. Nilangekar had kept other office bearers of the public trust in the dark and entered into a development rights MoU with one of the accused construction firms on September 26, 2009. The police lodged the FIR following an order of the Bombay High Court, which was hearing a criminal writ petition in this respect.

It was, ironically enough, in the same courtroom — number six on the ground floor of the Bombay High Court building — that an earlier judgment had led to the resignation of A.R. Antulay from the chief ministership of Maharashtra. The hearing reached its climax after two days of intense drama: the gradual unravelling of the fraud as sealed examination records were opened and examined, an astute judge trenchantly questioning the accused examiner’s advocate, the panic after a bomb hoax on the second day of the hearing emptied the courtroom within minutes, and finally the excitement and jubilation as the verdict was announced. Dr Mahesh Madhav Gosavi, whose stubborn pursuit of the scandal after the MD results were announced 1986 November led to the fall of a chief minister.

Dr Mahesh Gosavi, an assistant medical officer at the King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital, who had failed in the MD examination, met Professor Balasubramaniam Arunachalam, the university’s officer on special duty (examinations) to demand a revaluation of the results. Gosavi’s subsequent meetings with Arunachalam confirmed the rumour that the convenor of the MD exams, Dr Mahesh V. Raval, had tampered with the grades to pass Nilangekar’s daughter and another candidate, Smita Gnanesh Thacker, said to be a favourite of Raval’s at the KEM Hospital. In the process, Raval had to bend the rules for passing another 10 candidates. On January 16, 1986, Arunachalam prepared a report on the exam fraud for the university’s executive council; Gosavi approached the Bombay High Court. Justices.P. Bharucha ordered that all documents relating to the exams be sealed and handed over to the court. On January 24, Arunachalam filed the university’s detailed affidavit in response to the petition in which he stated that investigations had showed that the grades of two candidates had been tampered.

The investigations and arguments went on till March, after a two-day hearing of the sensational case; Justice Pendse announced the gist of his judgement. There was, in the end, an almost weary unavoidability about the Nilangekar affair. If A.R. Antulay displayed an irresistible weakness for collecting money for trusts, Vasantrao Patil for political patronage and land deals, Nilangekar showed yet another distinctive trait: collecting degrees for himself and his family members. Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar, BA, MA, LLB, found time even as chief minister to submit a PhD thesis to Nagpur University on ‘political awareness, mobilisation and change in Marathwada’. It is, by any reckoning, an extraordinary inventory of professional degrees that the Nilengekar clan accumulated, even as the head of the family exercised his clout as a minister in various cabinets since the early 70s. But, it was only after Nilangekar unexpectedly became the chief minister and came into the limelight that the scandals involving the family’s pursuit of degrees started becoming public.

Sharad Patil, Nilengekar’s second son, was admitted to the MS course at the Lokmanya Tilak Memorial Medical College (LTMMC) in Bombay 1986 December even though he plainly lacked the necessary qualifications. According to the rules, a medical graduate is eligible for the post-graduate course only if he has passed the subject he wants to specialise in (Sharad’s case, general surgery) less than three attempts, and the whole MBBS examination in less than four attempts.

Sharad had cleared the surgery paper as well as the MBBS examination on his third attempt from the Government Medical College in Nagpur, and the first part of the admission rule clearly denied him eligibility for the two MS seats at the LTMMC. But, Sharad was admitted to the post-graduate course after the college authorities were prevailed upon to consider only the second half of the admission rule.

Chandrakala’s husband, Arun Dawle’s quest for specialisation in cardio-thoracic surgery has an even more scandalous history. He held a non-transferable post as lecturer in surgery at the Swami Ramanand Teerth Rural Medical College at Ambejogai in Beed district of Maharashtra when, in 1982, he married Chandrakala Patil-Nilangekar. Chandrakala is the same lady, who became the reason for her father’s termination as CM of Maharashtra in MC scam. This family has a history of such evil deeds, which is evident in this generation too.

(Any suggestions, comments or dispute with regards to this article send us on [email protected])

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Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 14 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazine Beyond The News (international). She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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