Ex-HC judge Gilani to probe into PU plot allotments

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 07 Dec 2017 09:48:30


Staff Reporter,

‘The Hitavada’ had exposed the scandal a decade ago

Ex-Judge of the High Court Justice M N Gilani has consented to probe the allotment of 325 public utility (PU) lands by Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) to political big-wigs and institutions controlled by influential persons. Justice Gilani conveyed his consent to the High Court registry and sought six months time to complete the task and accordingly a division bench consisting of Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Swapna Joshi ordered the probe into allotment of PU plots as well as eight points probed by Navin Kumar committee.

This is a major development in this public interest litigation (PIL) based on 28-part series published by ‘The Hitavada’ in 2004 about bunglings in NIT. The series had badly exposed the murky affairs within NIT and how a powerful group of officers and then ruling party politicians gobbled prime plots, made mockery of development plan and were instrumental for haphazard development of Nagpur. The news-series had rocked the NIT and it was submitted to High Court by a vigilant citizen Anil Wadpalliwar and was treated as a PIL and leading lawyer Adv Anand Parchure was named as Amicus Curiae.

The one-man in-house committee headed by then Additional Chief Secretary Navin Kumar turned out to be a damp squib and the Amicus Curiae sought rejection of this report dubbing it as “mere eyewash” aimed at exonerating all wrong-doers and claimed that it ended up with recommending regularisation or irregularities and safeguarding the officers of Trust, while accepting in principle that irregularities occurred.

The High Court had mooted judicial probe in to PU lands allotments by NIT by tweaking rules, manipulating process and then brazenly exploiting it for commercial purpose, to further pinpoint the responsibility in this massive scandal exposed by ‘The Hitavada’ a decade ago.

The High Court had deplored the apathy shown by since NIT and State Government to act for last 13 years against those responsible for abuse and misuse of power and stressed the
need to conduct an independent probe from a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge.

Out of 325 allotments, at least 85 allotments made to politically influential individuals were found to be in absolute
breach of then existing Land Disposal Rules and were offered as largesse by a powerful coterie of NIT officers to please their political bosses.

About the detailed note submitted by the Amicus Curiae about legality in winding up NIT on the basis of a mere cabinet resolution, the High Court indicated that it would hear the matter on December 20. The official note filed before the High Court by the Amicus Curiae had charged that assets and liabilities of NIT including all subsisting contracts are being transferred to NMC without any notification issued under Section 121 of the NIT Act. “In absence of the notification under Section 121, the action of transferring the assets and liabilities as also the contracts, on the face of it, is illegal,” the Amicus Curiae claimed while describing the move to wind up NIT as “only a cabin decision which has not fructified in the form of notification.”
Amicus Curiae Anand Parchure, Adv Makrand Agnihotri (Rajkarne), Adv Mukesh Samarth (NIT), Adv Sudhir Puranik (NMC) appeared in the matter.