An investigation into Maharashtra Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse's family's purchase of a three-acre plot in Bhosari, near Pune, in April this year has found several irregularities. From grossly undervaluing the price of the plot to circumventing legal and administrative procedure to complete the sale, the land deal is highly suspicious, reported The Indian Express.
“This shows that black money was involved in the transaction," NCP spokesman Nawab Malik told Express. "The Centre has promised action against those indulging in black money transactions. It must act in this case too.”
BJP chief Amit Shah has reportedly asked the party's Maharashtra wing for "a detailed report" on the charges against Khadse.
However, Khadse has defended the land deal, claiming all of it was done according to law.
Meanwhile, Hemant Gawande, a Pune-based businessman, who exposed the deal, told Hindustan Times, “This will benefit buyer as well as seller as Khadse can hide his actual assets, while Abbas Ukani, the seller would have paid lesser income tax.”
Here are five glaring inconsistencies in the deal:
True market value of plot versus sale price
According to the sale deed accessed by Express, Khadse’s wife, Mandakini, and son-in-law, Girish Chaudhari, bought the plot for ₹3.75 crore on 27 April this year. This would mean they bought the plot at ₹3,088.81 per square metre, which is drastically below the market value for the plot. The true market value of the plot is fixed at ₹25,630 per square metre, which means it should have been sold for ₹31.01 crore. This is about eight times more than what the sale deed suggests Khadse's family paid for the plot.
Records indicate that almost a third of the sale price was also paid as stamp duty. Khadse' family apparently shelled out ₹1.37 crore for stamp duty — but that is disproportionate to the sale price. The stamp duty amount paid by them would be closer to the right number if the plot was being sold for the market rate, and not the undervalued price. Even at the market price, the stamp value should be six percent of the price, which is ₹1.86 crore.
Since the land was being sold at a grossly undervalued rate, rules require the registering authority to refer the matter to the district collector, who needs to record statements of both parties involved in the sale before allowing the deal to go through. Haveli Sub-Registrar Dinkar Lonkar, who allegedly registers the document, did so without following this crucial state, reported Express. It is important to note here that the sub-registrar's office comes under the revenue department, headed by Khadse himself.
Meanwhile, according to the government entity Maharashtra Industries Development Corporation (MIDC), it had acquired the land from the original land owner, Rasulbhai Ukani, in 1971. Rasulbhai's son, Abbas Ukani, who sold the plot to Khadse's family, has claimed that the acquisition was never completed, and his family did not receive the compensation promised by the government. Khadse, too, has claimed that Abbas Ukani was the actual owner, and that the acquisition process had "lapsed".
Sale deed inconsistencies
Even though Abbas Ukani is the sole owner of the plot according to the revenue department records, the sale deed has the names of Ukani and his eight family members as "vendors", reported Express. According to the sale deed, all nine of them shared the ₹3.75 crore payment.