Pune: There seems to be no doubt whatsoever that the newly incumbent Chief Minister of Maharashtra Eknath Shinde has more on his plate than he can chew. The state cabinet he has drawn up also, according to political pundits, including from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), does not inspire much confidence in this that many of the freshly inducted persons awarded with ministerial berths are allegedly tainted.
While one may argue that charges, including of moral turpitude have not been proved, the old adage that where there is smoke, there is fire, must hold true. And, there appears to be a lot of smoke billowing, which Shinde cannot just wish away.
Notably, while Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has trained his guns on Shiv Sena mouth-piece Saamana, and its incarcerated Editor Sanjay Raut, for reportedly muscling in on the Patra Chawl residents in which he is said to have pocketed a sum total of less than Rs. 2 crores, he is deliberately turning away his eyes from a gigantic scam, running into thousands of crores, by the land mafia in the Maval Taluka, right under his nose.
On July 19, a Deputy Superintendent of Police was murdered by the Sand Mafia in Haryana. He was mowed down by a lorry. This has led to Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court, Dr. G. Venkatesh Rao writing in anguish to the Registrar General of the Bombay High Court, placing before him yet another brutal killing of an RTI Activist, Satish Shetty of Talegaon-Dabhade, 12 years ago on January 13, 2010.
While fingers have been pointed to a powerful Syndicate, which is holding small property owners to ransom and using third degree methods to gobble their holdings, on paper, Shetty’s murder remains yet unsolved, despite cogent and clinching evidences given to the Investigating Officers by his younger brother, Sandeep, who was the first to reach Satish after he had been stabbed.
Dr. Rao has annexed a report that was carried in “The News 21”, copies of which were marked, including, to the Commissioner of Police of Pimpri-Chinchwad, as well as to Sanjay A. Deshmukh, Principal Judge of the District Courts, Pune.
The land mafia continues to rampage, unchecked, in Maval, which once was the rallying grounds of the Great Maratha Warrior and Freedom Fighter, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, with alleged support from the State Revenue and Home Departments, as also from crooked Judicial Officers.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau, (ACB) Pune had nabbed Judge Archana Jatkar of the Vadgaon District Courts, while reportedly accepting a bribe of Rs. 5 lakhs, according to FIR No. 0025 dated January 14, 2021 by the Dehu Road Police Station. After her Anticipatory Bail Application was rejected by the Supreme Court, she was arrested. Sadly, however, the ACB has a dismal track record of convictions due to the disinterested outlook of its cadre, who also may, paradoxically be corrupt.
The FIR registered is including u/s 120-B of the Indian Penal Code i.e., Criminal Conspiracy, by virtue of which other players from the authorities concerned, as well as from the Judiciary, can be arrayed as co-accused. More than a year has passed and the ACB sleuths appear content to continue to laze. Lawyers from the Vadgaon District Courts suggest that as the ACB seems to have miserably failed in performing their bounden duty, further investigation into FIR No. 0025 ought to be given to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), since this arrest of a sitting Judge, is only the tip of the ice-berg.
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde should remove the horse-blinkers post-haste and tackle this dangerous runaway scam on a war footing instead of swatting out his political adversaries. His focus must be on the larger picture; the welfare of the people at the grass-root levels. As a start, he could galvanize his minions to take up cudgels against the land mafia running amok in Maval and bring to books the main perpetrators, without further delay.
The letter from Dr. G. V. Rao dated July 19, is reproduced with the report earlier carried by “The News 21”.