The Bombay High Court on Friday restrained the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) from filing chargesheet against NCP leader Eknath Khadse, his wife and family in a case registered in 2017 pertaining to a 2016 land deal in Pune.
A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Prithviraj Chavan passed the order while hearing a plea by Khadse alleging that the ACB, despite having filed a closure report in 2018, sought to reopen the case last year after the change in Maharashtra government.
Quashing of FIR
Khadse’s plea has sought quashing of the FIR registered by the ACB in 2017.
The case relates to the land grab of a plot in Bhosari, Pune belonging to the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) which caused a loss to the exchequer upto Rs. 61.25 crores. Initially the case 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.
After investigation, the ACB filed a closure report before the special court in Pune saying that no offence was disclosed as alleged. All these years, the closure report was pending and the special court did not pass any order on the same.
Sometime in 2021, the complainant filed a protest petition opposing the closure report. Even at that stage, there was no hearing on the protest petition. And the judge did not decide on the issue.
In July 2022, the ACB said it wants to withdraw the closure report and investigate certain facts that have come to light.
Matter to be heard in March
The special in Pune allowed the ACB to withdraw the closure report in October 2022.
Khadse’s counsel Raja Thakare sought quashing of FIR saying: “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.
The court directed the ACB to file an affidavit in reply to Khadse's petition and restrained it from filing chargesheet in the case.
The HC has kept the matter for hearing in March.
Khadse, a former BJP minister, had joined the NCP in 2020. He had resigned from the then-Devendra Fadnavis cabinet in 2016 after facing allegations regarding the land deal
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