Bombay High Court Tuesday issued a notice to the state government in a case urging it to appoint a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe an alleged illegal sale of land allotted to CEAT Ltd in Bhandup aided by state excise minister Ganesh Naik.
According to the petition filed by A A P Jahagirdar, a former employee of CEAT and former union member, of the 1,24,024 sq m of land acquired by the state government for the company, it fraudulently sold 28,010.43 sq m to one Ashford Infotech Limited allegedly “acting in collusion” with Naik, former labour commissioner B D Sanap and Director General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau Raj Khilnani.
Other respondents in the case include home minister R R Patil, DGP Sanjeev Dayal, Mumbai Commissioner of Police Dr Satyapal Singh, officers of the Bhandup police station and the top brass of CEAT Ltd.
Lawyers for CEAT and Ashford told the court that Jahagirdar had lodged a complaint with Bhandup police station and there was no need to transfer the probe.
The court questioned the need for an SIT in the case. Jahagirdar’s lawyer Ashish Mehta said Naik was a minister in the coalition government, and he did not have faith in the investigation of Bhandup police.
The court has posted the case for hearing on June 26.
In his complaint filed before a magistrate in January, Jahagirdar said in 1958 and January 1969, there was an agreement between the state government and the company that the state would acquire land in Bhandup village and hand it over to the company to set up a factory. In 1958, the acquisition proceedings began. The state paid about Rs 15 lakh for all the land acquired.
The complaint stated that CEAT was not interested in carrying out business in Bhandup-Mulund area and wanted to wind up the plant there, depriving its workers of their livelihood.
The complaint alleged that Naik issued a No-objection Certificate for the sale of the land when he had no authority to do so. The power to grant change in the use of land was only with the revenue and urban development departments, Jahagirdar contended.