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Monday, October 3, 2022

Dapoli land conversion: BJP’s Somaiya seeks SIT probe against Sena leader Anil Parab

The BJP leader claims that Parab, along with one Vibhas Ranjan Sathe, conspired with a subdivisional officer to violate the coastal regulation zone notification of 2011 that prohibited any new construction in no-development zone.

Kirit Somaiya (Express Photo by Pavan Khengre)

BJP leader Kirit Somaiya has approached the Bombay High Court seeking a court-monitored inquiry by a special investigation team (SIT) against former Maharashtra minister and Shiv Sena MLA Anil Parab over the “illegal” conversion of agricultural land to build a resort in Dapoli.

In a petition filed on Monday, Somaiya alleged that the Sai resort, in Ratnagiri district, violated several coastal regulation zone (CRZ) rules. He claimed that Parab, along with one Vibhas Ranjan Sathe, conspired with the Dapoli subdivisional officer to violate the CRZ notification of 2011 that prohibited any new construction in no-development zones.

Somaiya claimed that Sathe bought agricultural land in the CRZ and approached the gram panchayat in 2015 for permission to build a non-permanent structure on it, which was allowed. However, the gram panchayat put a condition that Sathe would have to get approval from the revenue department or the CRZ authority to use the structure for non-agricultural purposes. However no construction was pursued.

In 2017, Parab allegedly bought the land for Rs 1 crore, but the sale deed was executed in 2019.

Somaiya’s petition stated that even though Parab was the owner of the land, nearly three months after the sale in 2017, Sathe applied to use the agricultural land for commercial or residential purposes, permission for which was granted by the Dapoli subdivisional officer.

Somaiya alleged Parab constructed a resort on the land and also got an electricity connection. But after questions were raised by the public, Parab sold the property for Rs 1.1 crore to one Sadanand Kadam in December 2019, according to the petition. Kadam’s accountants allegedly declared the property was worth Rs 5.4 crore and paid land revenues for three years–2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-2020.

Parab used his influence to manipulate revenue records to show the land had been transferred directly from Sathe to Kadam, the petition said. No action was taken against Parab despite several representations being made to authorities, Somaiya said.

The BJP leader sought from the court a direction to constitute an SIT under the supervision of a retired high court judge to probe the allegations of forgery, cheating and dishonest inducement for illegal conversion of land use, criminal misconduct by public servants and the construction of a commercial resort in a no-development zone.

As the petition came up before a bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Sharmila Deshmukh on Friday, the latter recused herself from hearing it. It will now be placed before another bench.

Last year, Parab filed a Rs 100-crore defamation suit against Somaiya in the high court for making “malicious, malafide and defamatory” statements about him in connection with the Dapoli land.

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