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‘District minister’ insisted I complete handing over of auctioned police land in Pune in 2010: Ex-IPS officer in book

Pune: Former Pune police chief Meeran Chadha Borwankar has claimed in a book that the then “district minister” insisted in 2010 that she complete the process of handing over an auctioned plot belonging to her department to the winning bidder, who was later cited as an accused by the CBI in the 2G scam.

Though the district minister’s name is not mentioned in the book, ‘Madam Commissioner’, the retired IPS officer apparently points to NCP leader Ajit Pawar, the present deputy chief minister of Maharashtra. Pawar held the post of ‘guardian minister’ of Pune district at the time, when the state had a Congress-NCP government.

Borwankar was the Pune police commissioner between 2010 and 2012. She later assumed the charge as Additional Director General (Prisons) in Pune.

According to the book, the minister insisted that she complete the handing over of the auctioned 3-acre police land in the city’s Yerawada area to the “top bidder” in 2010, but the police officer refused to relent by stating the land would be useful for building new offices and residential quarters for the police department.

PTI tried to contact Borwankar for her comments. However, calls and text messages to her remained unanswered.

In the book, Borwankar said the divisional commissioner called her one day saying the “district minister” wanted to meet her in connection with the police land.

“…I learnt that the land, measuring around three acres, had been auctioned and we had to hand it over to the highest bidder who would, in return, construct five hundred residential quarters for policemen in the existing police headquarters,” she said in the book.

Borwankar said she found the auction had throughout been led and supervised by the divisional commissioner. “It was very surprising as the land belonged to the police department,” she wrote.

As per schedule, she met the district minister in the divisional commissioner’s office, the retired IPS officer wrote.

“He (district minister) had a huge paper map of the area with him. He explained that the auction had been successfully concluded and I should proceed to hand over the land to the top bidder. I replied that as Yerawada had become literally the centre of Pune, the police would never get such prime land in future. And that we needed it to construct more offices as well as residential quarters for the police,” says the book.

Borwankar submitted that she had recently taken over and giving the police land to a private party would be perceived as “the new police commissioner having sold herself out”.

“But the minister simply overruled me and insisted that I complete the process, which he declared was over,” as per excerpts from the book.

The ex-IPS officer claimed that she, unhappy with the instructions, asked the district minister why her predecessor – the previous police commissioner – had not handed over the land if the auction had already concluded.

“I even said that the process, itself was flawed, in my opinion, and against the interest of the police department. It would just not be possible for me to relinquish such a prime piece of police land to a private party when we ourselves needed it, I told him gently but with finality. The minister lost his cool and hurled the map at the glass table,” she wrote in the book.

The minister then made many remarks against her to the then state home minister R R Patil, as per the book.

Realising that she had no intention to part with the land, the highest bidder filed a case in the Bombay High Court. “To his bad fortune and my good luck, the CBI had in the meanwhile cited him as an accused in the 2G scam,” says the book.

Borwankar said she wrote a “very strong” letter to the home department, pitching to nullify the ‘whole deal’.

“Mr Patil had always supported my transparent policies, but this time he seemed to have his hands tied as the ‘district minister’ was undoubtedly more mighty. In fact, a senior police officer told me, “No one, neither the officers nor the media, dares say no to ‘dada’,” she claimed in the book.

The then divisional commissioner, Dilip Bund, said Ajit Pawar was not at all linked to the issue and that the proposal was from the home department. He, however, said the NCP leader had summoned Borwankar over the matter.

Bund said Borwankar had an objection to handing over the land, and he tried to explain to her that it would be good for the police department as it would be getting quarters for the staff.

(Published 16 October 2023, 04:59 IST)

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