Mumbai: Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and his family have come under the scanner after former IPS officer YP Singh accused the NCP chief's family, including daughter MP, Supriya, of being at the centre of a massive land scam in Maharashtra. However, Pawar was quick to react, defending his support for the controversial hill station Lavasa and saying there was no violation.
Singh created another controversy, claiming that Arvind Kejriwal had chosen not to expose Pawar despite being provided documentary evidence. "IAC had all information pertaining to the irrigation scam in Maharashtra but Kejriwal did not reveal all the facts. He has been selective in his revelations," Singh told media persons.
Targeting Sharad Pawar over Lavasa Corporation, Singh claimed that the NCP chief was at the centre of the "real" scam. Singh said Ajit Pawar gave land for Lavasa hill city project at throwaway price. "Ajit Pawar granted 341 acres to Lake City Corp on 30 years lease for just Rs.23,000 per month. In Mumbai, the smallest one bedroom house is not available for that price," he said. Singh said 20.81 per cent shares of Lake City Corp Lavasa belonged to Supriya Sule and her husband Sadanand. "Ajit Pawar gave the land to this company virtually free. In 2006, Sule and her husband sold shareholding but at what cost," Singh questioned, stating that Supriya made a huge gain in the land deal.
Meanwhile, in New Delhi, Sharad Pawar rubbished claims by Singh that he and his family were involved in illegal land acquisition in Lavasa. Terming Lavasa as India's "first planned hill city project in Maharashtra", Sharad Pawar said the state government had the authority to give the land as per the hill station policy. “Eighty per cent of the 300 acres land is submerged in water and there has been no construction. It has been done as per the policy and there are no two opinions about it," he told reporters.
Sharad Pawar maintained that he helped a "good" project which was coming up in his home district and it was an "ideal city" with modern amenities like hospitals and educational institutions. He, however, conceded that his daughter Supriya and son-in-law Sadanand Sule had shares in the Lake City Corp. "But they sold their stake around 2005-06 when there was a controversy."
Earlier on Thursday, Singh also accused Kejriwal of taking his favour in the name of the anti-corruption movement and using the documents for "personal political advancement". "In the name of IAC/NGO, Kejriwal got legal documentation done by me for central ministers. But he used them for his political career," he said. Singh's claims came a day after Kejriwal targeted BJP president Nitin Gadkari, accusing him of getting around 100 acres of land in Maharashtra after the Congress-NCP government bent rules.
Singh's associate Abha Singh, a laywer, said that Kejriwal's argument that excess land taken from farmers should be returned to farmers countered Supreme Court guidelines. "According to the apex court, such land cannot be returned to the farmers as it has already been purchased from them. There has to be a public auction of such land," she said.
(With additional inputs from IANS)