|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Maharashtra CM made party in PIL against Narayan Rane
September 05, 2007 17:55 IST
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday allowed a petitioner, who has filed a PIL against Maharashtra Revenue Minister Narayan Rane, to make Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh a party to the proceedings.
The PIL, filed by Subhash Jadhav, questions the concession granted by Rane in a land-sale transaction to Mukund Industries Ltd. Jadhav had moved the high court seeking to make the chief minister one of the respondents. He alleged that the decision taken by Rane cost the exchequer Rs 110 crore.
A division bench of Justices J N Patel and Amjed Sayed allowed the petitioner to make Deshmukh a party to the proceedings. The chief minister can file reply by September 13, which is the next date of hearing.
The court has also asked the state government to inform the court if it would reconsider the decision taken by Rane.
According to the petition, Mukund Ltd falls in `Occupant class II', and it was supposed to pay 50 per cent of the land's market value to get the permission to sell the land in their possession.
Mukund Ltd admitted this legal requirement and was willing to abide by it. But Rane, in his order dated September 14, 2005, changed its status to Occupant class I, and landowners in this category are not required to pay 50 per cent of the market value to the government.
Rane's order resulted in a loss of approximately Rs 100 crore to the state in terms of revenue, claims the petition.
The government had leased the land to Mukund Ltd for a very nominal amount. When such a land is to be sold, fifty per cent of the 'unearned profit � the market price of the land -- has to be given to the government.
Jadhav's lawyer Shrihari Aney on Wednesday contended that when Mukund sought a waiver of this condition, the district collector, municipal commissioner and even the chief secretary rejected the request, but Rane granted it.
The petition adds that usually such a decision does not need the chief minister's endorsement, but Rane placed the order before the chief minister, who signed it. Jadhav obtained a copy of the order by resorting to the Right to Information Act.
"Since the chief minister has signed it, he must take the responsibility," said Aney. However, he added that the chief minister was not being impleaded in his personal capacity but by his designation.
Incidentally, senior Shiv Sena leader and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Ramdas Kadam had also raised this issue in the Assembly recently.