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    Published On : Mon, Jun 12th, 2017

    Probe into high-profile Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway land scam still hanging fire

    Nagpur: The high-profile probe ordered by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis into purchase of hundreds of acres of land allegedly by relatives of Principal Secretary in Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) and other top government officers along the proposed 800 km Mumbai-Nagpur Super Expressway is still hanging fire as little or no progress has been made in this regard even after period of six months.

    On December 13, 2016, media had reported that farmers in Bhiwandi, Shahapur and Kalyan have submitted land documents to the Chief Minister’s Office, which purportedly show that several government officers, including the CMO officer, have purchased hundreds of acres and could be among the biggest beneficiaries if the Super Expressway plan is implemented.

    The subsequent bedlam over the issue in the Winter Session of the Legislative Assembly in Nagpur forced Fadnavis to announce an inquiry into the alleged scam in both Houses. However, shockingly, no investigation agency tried to contact the complainants to unravel the facts.

    In March 2017, social activist had filed an RTI application seeking details from the CMO on farmers’ complaints and the promised investigation into it. His application was transferred to the Public Works Department (PWD), which said the matter came under the purview of the Revenue Department and forwarded the application to it on April 15, 2017.

    A month later, the Revenue Department, which is responsible for all land dealings, returned the application to the PWD saying the Mumbai-Nagpur Super Expressway project is being implemented by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), and it has no role in land acquisition for the project. An RTI application May 1, 2017 to the Home Department seeking details of the inquiry is yet to get a reply, and has crossed the limit of 30 days within which a government department must answer an RTI query.

    “If none of these departments know anything about the inquiry, it is clear that no such investigation is being conducted. The Chief Minister had assured the Assembly that an inquiry would be conducted. The CM himself should come forward and explain,” the RTI activist said.

    Close to 10,000 hectare of land is to be acquired for the Rs. 46,000-crore Expressway, said to be Fadnavis’s flagship infrastructure project.

    Fadnavis had announced an enquiry against state government officials who allegedly purchased land on proposed Nagpur-Mumbai Super Expressway, named as ‘Samruddhi Corridor’. The announcement came after Opposition members raised the issue through adjournment motion in the State Assembly.

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