Maharashtra: Ajit Pawar Wanted Police Land To Go To Builder, Claims Ex-Top Cop In Her Book

Maharashtra: Ajit Pawar Wanted Police Land To Go To Builder, Claims Ex-Top Cop In Her Book

Though she does not mention Pawar’s name in the book, the IPS officer recounts a 2010 “encounter” with him in the office of the Pune divisional commissioner.

IANSUpdated: Monday, October 16, 2023, 09:29 PM IST
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Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar/File Image | X

In a huge embarrassment for the Maharashtra government, former Pune commissioner of police Meeran Chadha-Borwankar on Monday said that she managed to save a prime plot of land at Yerawada belonging to the Police Department from a private builder and pointed a finger at the then Guardian minister and present Deputy Chief Minister, Ajit Pawar.

Chadha-Borwankar was interacting with the media in New Delhi a day after the release of her book, Madam Commissioner: The Extraordinary Life of an Indian Police Chief, on Sunday. Though she does not mention Pawar’s name in the book, the IPS officer recounts a 2010 “encounter” with him in the office of the Pune divisional commissioner, and also how the then home minister, the late RR Patil, had advised her to “keep off” that land deal matter.

The former police chief writes that she resisted pressure from Pawar and “saved” the police’s three-acre plot, which was to be handed over to a Mumbai-based builder, the chairman of DB Realty, Shahid Usman Balwa, who was later arrested in the 2G spectrum scam.

Pawar on Monday rubbished Chadha-Borwankar’s allegations. He said a guardian minister has no powers to allot government land. That power is vested only with the revenue minister, he added.

“When this incident took place [in 2010], the builder was not yet arrested. It was good that the deal was later junked as it prevented the government from a huge embarrassment,” Chadha-Borwankar pointed out on Monday.

The CoP of Pune (2010-2012) writes in the book about the pressures she faced from ‘Dada’ to release the prime plot to the private builder. She elaborates on a meeting with Pawar, who had a huge paper map of the Yerawada Police Station’s plot. He informed her that the auction on the land was complete and she should proceed to hand over the plot to the top bidder. Resisting, Chadha-Borwankar said it was police land, which was required for expansion, offices / residential quarters.

It would be against the police department’s interest to hand over the land, she said. The minister overruled her and asked her to complete the handover process, but she declined, pointed out flaws in the auction process and even countered why her predecessor had not done it if the land was already auctioned.

After this, Pawar lost his cool, flung the map on the glass table, and made certain unsavoury references about Patil, revered as ‘Aaba’ in political circles, she said.

Chadha-Borwankar said she saluted the minister and quietly left the venue.

On Monday the former top cop said she was “not demanding any probe into the incident as the deal fell through after I put my foot down”.

She also warned of a strong “bureaucrat-politician-builders-police” nexus, against which the state must safeguard, and said that the Yerawada land case was just one among 38 major incidents that figure in her book.

The book unleashed a political storm – state Congress president Nana Patole, Leader of Opposition Vijay Wadettiwar, Shiv Sena-UBT national spokesperson Kishore Tiwari, Nationalist Congress Party (SP) MLA Rohit Pawar (nephew of Ajit Pawar) and others demanded a probe. However, the ruling ally and breakaway NCP (AP) leader Rupali Chakankar rejected the insinuations and warned Chadha-Borwankar of legal action if she failed to prove her charges against Pawar.

A smiling Chadha-Borwankar said that since Sunday, she has been besieged with phone calls and messages from various past or present bureaucrats on similar land scams that they have been grappling with.

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