Close on the heels of his indictment by the Comptroller and Auditor General, Maharashtra minister Chhagan Bhujbal has come under the lens of the office of the Charity Commissioner which has ordered inspection of a building owned by his family-run trust for violation of rules.
Joint Charity Commissioner Sharadkumar S Patil has directed Assistant Charity Commissioner Mangesh Deshpande to inspect the multi-storey building owned by Mumbai Education Trust in suburban Bandra on Saturday.
The action follows a complaint lodged by a former MET trustee Sunil Karve earlier this year that Bhujbal's family members were unlawfully occupying 8th and 10th floors of the building for personal use without paying any compensation to the Trust.
Deshpande will inspect the two floors in the presence of the representatives of the applicants and respondents and prepare a 'panchnama' in respect of the premises, draw a hand-sketched map and submit a report on April 11.
According to the order, the officer will also take still photographs and make a video recording of the premises to show its current status.
"Applicants shall bear the expenses of the video shooting as well as the photographs. The applicants shall initially deposit a sum of Rs 5,000 in this office immediately," the order said.
It also temporarily restrained the respondents from using the 8th and 10th floors for any purpose other than those conforming to the objectives of the Trust or which violated
the approved plan of the municipal body.
According to the complaint, the 8th floor of the property is occupied by Ideen Furniture Private limited of which Bhujbal's nephew and Lok Sabha member from Nashik Sameer
Bhujbal and his wife Shefali are promotors and directors.
The complaint also said that family members of Bhujbal are unlawfully occupying the entire 10th floor for residential purpose without payment of compensation to the Trust.
The premises was meant to be used as a guest house for the visiting faculty of various institutes run by the Trust. The complaint alleged that the respondents were attempting to destroy evidence and "create and fabricate" false evidence during pendency of the proceedings.
It alleged that new construction activity has started on the 8th floor for the purpose of altering the status of the property to show as if it is used as classroom.
The order said it was the duty of the charity commissioner to ensure that the Trust is properly maintained.
"Status quo is required to be maintained till the controversy between the parties is set at rest," it said. Bhujbal is learnt to have been indicted by the CAG in its recent report, yet to be tabled in the legislature that was leaked by the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday.
The report says a 91,300 square metre plot in Govardhan taluka in Nashik worth crores of rupees was allotted to the MET after changing the purpose of reservation from mining activity to educational purpose at occupancy price of a meager Rs 9.08 lakh.
The land was transferred to MET by the PWD, a department headed by Chhagan Bhujbal. "There was apparent conflict of interest in the transfer and allotment of this land," the CAG report said.