Bombay High Court
Bombay High Court

Mumbai: Observing that the cooperative movement in Maharashtra has already suffered a lot owing to the misconduct and abuse of power by those controlling the sector, the Bombay High Court recently ordered thorough probe in the leasing of over 105 acres of land by a former minister to his son.

A bench of Justices Tanaji Nalawade and Mukund Sewlikar was dealing a petition filed by Milind Daulatrao Patil, who claimed that the spinning mill was founded by former minister Ambrish Patel, a BJP leader and he leased the land parcel to the firm, which was controlled by his own son.

As per the plea, the land was leased for 99 years on an annual rent of Rs 30 lakhs. In earlier hearings, the judges were informed that the local police has conducted enquiry and has found nothing fishy in the transaction. The police also claimed that it has reached the said conclusion on the basis of a report submitted by a committee under the Maharashtra Cooperative Socieities Act.

However, the bench opined that the police erred in accepting the report as it is. "If by accepting the reports of the authorities or the officers of cooperative department such things are ignored then people in general will lose faith in police machinery and also faith in the judicial system. Only because the present Patil happens to be a political opponent of the man in control of the spinning mill (Patel), the things which have come to notice of this Court cannot be ignored," the judges said in their latest orders passed on February 2.

"By using such modus operandi most of the factories of the State are sold and that property has gone again to the persons who were controlling the factories in the past even as founder and that has caused loss to the share holders and poor farmers," the bench noted.

The judges further said that such issues must be viewed seriously as it would have an adverse impact on the cooperative sector of the state.

"Already the co-operative movement has suffered a lot due to such conduct of the persons controlling the institutions. Unless strict action is taken and discipline is brought in those instituitons which is necessary for development of the society the happening of such incidents will not stop," the judges observed. The bench accordingly hoped that the police would consider this as a serious issue and probe the matter with honesty.

"This court hopes that the state government also takes such things very seriously so that poor’s of the state are protected," the bench said while posting the matter for further hearing on March 3.

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