Thane, Apr 26 UNI | 3 months ago

The city unit of Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) has filed a charge sheet against 24 accused for their alleged role in a land scam in the district some 30 years ago.

The charge sheet was filed recently in the court of Thane Additional Sessions Judge M C Khadke by ACB, which conducted the probe into the serious allegations against the officials of the revenue department, co-operation department, CIDCO and builders who were hand in gloves and caused losses to the tune of several crores of rupees to the state government.

The accused, including then managing director of CIDCO and senior government officials, have been charged under sections 13 (1), (c), (d) read with section 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and under Sections 120(B), 406, 465, 466, 467,468, 471, 109, 420 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

The charge sheet has also mentioned the names of four people who were also allegedly involved in the scam and died during the course of investigation, including the then MD of CIDCO L C Gupta, then CIDCO land surveyor Govind Ganpat Surve, Om Shanti Co-op Housing Society chairman Pyarelal Ramikishore Prajapati and Om Shanti member Bhanudas Malwankar.

It also stated that two of the accused -- Surendra Madanlal Shembi and Madanlal Shembi, father and son duo, were still at large and could not be traced.

The ACB officials also sought direction from the court regarding the alleged accused, Habansingh Ramakbal Singh, who did not remain present in the court.

The charge sheet stated that while acting as public servants, the accused misused their position for illegal gains to Shree Om Shanti Co-operative Housing Society Ltd.

Similarly, the other accused with the support of the government servants and those from CIDCO had conspired to make illegal gains of Rs 1.49 crore to themselves and losses of the like amount to the government.

The losses runs into several crores as of today as the scam is more than 25 years old.

Pyarelal Prajapati, now dead, was the brain behind the entire racket.

The scam came to light when M G Ramchandra, managing director, Arcade (India) Pvt Ltd, complained about it. Following which, a confidential enquiry was carried out, followed by an open inquiry. Thereafter, government directed the ACB to take appropriate action against the government officials and the individuals involved in the scam.

The Thane ACB probe revealed that upon the Society's request, town development department, CIDCO, revenue and the officers of the Society Joint Registrar Office misused their designations and caused losses of Rs 1,49,24,444 to CIDCO and caused illegal gains of the same amount to the Society. An offence was registered against all 14 public servants and 13 Society members on December 20, 2010, and finally the chargesheet was filed in the Thane court.

It was on February 03, 1984, Shree Om Shanti Co-op Hsg Soc Ltd had sent an application for construction of proposed society. The proposal was sent to L C Gupta, the then managing director of CIDCO, and G G Surve, the then land survey officer, proposed to the CIDCO's board of directors on July 30, 1984, for allotting a plot admeasuring 10,988 sq mtr to the Society. Accordingly, the plot was allotted to the Society at the rate of Rs 77 per sq mt, when the then prevailing market rate was Rs 240 per sq mtr.

Thus, it was revealed that the government servants had misused their position, without verifying the papers and member list submitted by the Society and when the market value of the said plot was Rs 26,37,120, allotted the said plot to the Society for Rs 8,46,076 and caused loss of Rs 17,91,044 to CIDCO and caused illegal gains of the said amount to the Society.

After obtaining the plot from CIDCO, the Society again applied to CIDCO for additional land admeasuring 3,060 sq mtr. Upon which, CIDCO alloted the new plot admeasuring 3,267 sq mtr at the rate of Rs 100 per sq mtr, instead of at the then market rate of Rs 300 per sq mtr at Airoli Sector 1, on July 18, 1986, the charge sheet added.

(Posted on 27-04-2014)