By Sanjay Jog
The Lavasa story took another twist today after Ramesh Kumar, former additional chief secretary of Maharashtra’s revenue department, revealed the state government did not take any action on his report citing irregularities in the project development. Kumar, who retired in September 2010, had mentioned in his report submitted in June 2010 that the Krishna Valley Development Corporation (KVDC) gave a large chunk of land, meant for irrigation purpose, to private parties for commercial use.
On Thursday, police officer turned lawyer-activist Y P Singh — who had dragged Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, his nephew Ajit and daughter Supriya Sule into the Lavasa controversy — had said Kumar had objected to the allotment of KVDC land to Lavasa project. Singh alleged that as a punishment, the state government dropped Kumar’s name as member of the Maharshtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT). According to Kumar, KVDC had no authority to transfer the land and, therefore, the land transfer was illegal.
“Around 100 tribal cultivators’ land was purchased, when tribal lands cannot be bought without the government’s permission.” Kumar said no reference whatsoever was made to the state government. He also alleged that the irregularities in Lavasa development led to financial losses for the state.
The former IAS officer clarified he did not face any harassment from the state government.
“However, I have gone through an unpleasant phase. I was selected for the post of member MAT in, January 2011. But the state government cancelled my recommendation after keeping it pending for more than four months.”
He said he later approached the high court and the Supreme Court. Now the matter is pending before the central government.
According to Singh, state Industries Minister Narayan Rane suppressed Kumar’s objections. However, Rane justified his decision, saying he had taken decisions according to the Hill Station Development Act.