HC Asks ACB Not To File Chargesheet Against Former Minister Khadse in 2016 Land Case Till March

The Bombay High Court on Friday directed the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of the Pune police not to file its chargesheet till March against former Maharashtra revenue minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Eknath Khadse in connection with a 2016 Pune land deal case.

A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and P K Chavan gave the direction while hearing a petition of Khadse claiming the ACB had in April 2018 filed a closure report in the case, saying no substance was found in allegations against him but after the change in government in the state in June 2022, the anti-graft agency sought to reopen the matter.

Shiv Sena rebels led by current Chief Minister Eknath Shinde formed a new government with support from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after the collapse of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) dispensation in June 2022. The NCP was part of the MVA government.

“In July 2022, the ACB changed its stand after the change in government and filed an application before the sessions court to further investigate the matter,” the petition said.

In October 2022, the sessions court in Pune permitted the ACB to investigate the matter and the C-summary report (closure report) was withdrawn, it added.

The bench on Friday directed the ACB to file an affidavit in response to Khadse’s petition and posted the matter for hearing in March.

The court said until the next date of hearing, the ACB shall not file its chargesheet in the nearly seven-year-old case.

Khadse, a former BJP minister who joined the NCP in 2020, his wife and son-in-law are facing charges of graft and misuse of official position in the land case that was registered with the Bund Garden police station in Pune city on a complaint of activist Hemant Gawande.

The case was later transferred to the ACB.

Khadse faced allegations that he misused his power as a minister and purchased land in Pune’s Bhosari area, owned by Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), in the name of his wife and son-in-law for Rs 3.75 crore as against the market price of Rs 40 crore.

The 70-year-old politician has denied any wrongdoing. He had resigned from the then-Devendra Fadnavis cabinet in 2016 after facing allegations regarding the land deal.

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