Pune: The Mumbai High Court has ordered an inquiry against the Central government (Defence Ministry) officials for allegedly filling false statements/ documents in court in connection with the Lohegaon defence land case.
The market price of the 69.23 acres land is estimated to be worth over Rs 1,000 crore due to its location near New Airport Road connecting the Ahmednagar highway with the airport.
After being acquitted by a CBI court in connection with the defence land grab, builder Harish Milani filed a case in Pune court for getting possession of the land, which is currently occupied by the Army. The Defence Estate Officer, Pune, on behalf of the Union of India, had filed a writ petition in the High Court last year against the builder’s plea.
Meanwhile, Milani filed a civil application in the writ petition under section 340 of the criminal procedure code (CrPC) demanding an inquiry against officials for false information/documents. The counsel for the defence official denied that any false averments were made in the writ petition and submitted that the writ petition needs to be heard first, as the proceedings before the trial court are unnecessarily being stalled.
“Filing of such civil application is an attempt on the part of respondent (Milani) to continue to be in unlawful possession of the suit land, as respondent knows that the hearing of the application filed under Section 340 CPC, which is baseless and false, is going to consume time of the court,” counsel stated before the HC.
Manish Harish Milani, on behalf of his father, said, “The court has already acquitted my father. Now, we want the land to be in our possession but the defence officials have unnecessarily challenged our application in the High Court, knowing that they have made false statements in the case.”
Justice Dr Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi, in her order dated April 26, had stated that before deciding the writ petition, the application of Milani will be decided.
According to CBI, land survey no. 233A situated at Lohegaon, has been in possession of the Military since 1918. Though the agency submitted gazette notification of 1917 of government’s intention to acquire the land for the military, it failed to produce actual documents for acquisition or requisition of the land. The land record like 7/12 extract states ‘military kade’ (towards military) in the ownership column. One Kevin Pinto had claimed that his father and grandfather had purchased the land and then sold it Milani in 1980. But the sale was not registered and Pinto and Milani got it registered in 2008. The trial court had found it suspicious. But the court had acquitted all accused including Milani, defence and other State government officials in 2016.