Akela for BeyondHeadlines
Bollywood Actor and Jayant Mhalagi have allegedly encroached around 650 Acres of Forest and Agricultural land and have developed a private hill station without obtaining required permission from Authorities. The duo has not only cheated the farmers and NRI’s from America, Dubai, Singapore, Goa, Kerala and Nagpur but have also caused very serious damage to the environment.
The proper investigation into alleged misdeeds of the two can uncover one of the biggest land scams in India. The Accused have Named their Porject ‘Mini Mahabaleshwar’. The Girivan a private hill station is situated at Hotale village near Kolvan of Mulshi taluka of Pune district. Approximately at 2400 feet above sea level and 400 feet above the Lonavala hill station.
The visit to the place (Girivan) last week revealed rampand dadagiri of security guards.
According to plot owners the Jayant Mhalagi who is the son of very reputed former BJP Member of Parliament (MP) Rambhau Mhalagi and film actor Vikram Gokhale started project in year 1989-1990. The Mhalagi is the managing director (MD) and Gokhale Chairman of the Girivan Group of Industries. The Mhalagi did these activities under banner of “Sujata Farms private limited”.
They allegedly encroaches 650 acres farmers (agricultures) and forest lands and started selling lands claiming as they are actual owners. More than 1050 persons from America, Dubai, Singapore, Goa, Nagpur, Kerala, Mumbai and Pune have bought land till now. Among them 250 persons are from Mumbai and 400 from Pune. Politicians, bureaucrats, bankers, doctors, engineers, share brokers and retired central agencies officials have invested their money in the project.
“I bought land on name of Rambhau Mhalagi thinking his son Jayant will be honest but I was wrong. I have been cheated. The Mhalagi have no paper of the land,” said MS Joshi who bought 18 acres land and run a resort in Girivan.
The Mhalagi and Gokhale have not only encroached farmers land illegally; they have als encroached few acres of forest land and sold it to investors. Keeping environmental norms aside, the have also cut down down more then Hundred trees. 18 kilometers of road were also constructed after cutting down trees and greenery of forest. Interestingly, Mhalagi constructed this road on lands of plot owners but takes “road tax” Rs 6000 per year.
“Mhalagi constructed road in my land and demands “road tax” to me,” said Arun Deshmukh, a plot owner.
The scam came in light in 2005 when a farmer Ganesh Jauhari smell something fishy and demarcated his land. He was shocked to know that his land was sold. The other farmers started demarcation of their lands and then Mhalagi and Gokhale (who fights against corruption in reel life) showed their real face.
In Typical Bollywood style the reel life heros turned Gunda’s in real life and hired personal security guards to threaten farmers. The guards posted on the entrance started threatening farmers and stopped their entry to their lands. The farmers have their Kuldevi (Bhairavnath and Waghjai) temples inside Girivan. In October 2010 the farmers tried to perform special pooja but security guards did not allowed them. After brief altercations the farmers registered a complaint in Paud police station 11 security guards were arrested.
Sources told this reporter that Mhalagi and Gokhale divided their roles to manage farmers and government machinery. The Mhalagi managed farmers, sarpanch, tehsildar, district collector and police and Gokhale uses his influence in Ministry of Maharashtra. The whole government machinery knows about this scam but did not dare to take action. The local officials did something but on papers.
What did government authorities?
1- Slowly- slowly investors came to know about illegality of Girivan. More than 17 farmers complained in writing to the Tehsildar against Girivan. The farmers had complained that A- Girivan management had changed the route of natural water so they are losing their agriculture. B- The management had encroached their lands and rounded by iron wire and C- the management have constructed road on their land and also not allowing using it.
On October 31, 2006 Tehsildar wrote a letter (copy available with Author) to the farmers that he visited the place (Girivan) and found correct their complaints. For this Tehsildar have given warning in writing (copy available with Author) to the Girivan.
2- On August 30, 2007, a plot owner Smita Joshi demanded information through right to information (RTI) to the district collector asking provide papers of the Girivan. On September 28, 2007, collector office replied (copy available with Author) that he have no papers related Girivan.
3- On December 10, 2007, Member of Parliament (MP) Shivaji Adhalrao Patil
wrote a letter (copy available with Author) to the Hotale village “Sarpanch” informing that he has written a letter to then district collector Prabhakar Deshmukh demanding inquiry in to the matter. Patil had asked that if anyone found guilty take necessary action on them.
4- On January 25, 2008 Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Sharad Bajirao Dhamale also written a letter (copy available with Author) to the Tehsildar complaining Girivan illegally has constructed a gate and not giving permission to enter the farmers inside. Look in to the matter and take action but Tehsildar did nothing.
5-On April 30, 2008 plot owners and farmers met then superintendent of police (SP) Vishwas Nangre Patil and gave a complaint in writing (copy available with Author) demanding inquiry and action in to the matter but Patil also did nothing.
6- On December 18, 2008 revenue department fined Rs 75 lakh to the Girivan as he illegally dogged a mine. The Tehsildar warned (copy available with Author) that this last warning to stop the illegal activities in Girivan.
7- On July 2, 2009 development officer, Panchayat committee, wrote a letter (copy available with Author) to the Mhalagi that he has constructed 493 square meter land illegally on name of Sujata forms private limited. Mhalagi had forged the documents but not submitted the original papers. The Panchayat asked to produce original papers neither construction will be declare illegal.
8- On December 18, 2009 the forest department informed (copy available with Author) to Smita Joshi that he has registered offence against Girivan for illegally encroaching on forest land.
“I have received complaint. Matter is under investigation,” said P Bhalekar, forest officer.
9- On September 6, 2011 farmers (land owners) complained in general meeting (Lok Shahi Din) of district collector. The collector ordered (copy available with Author) to the revenue department to inquire in to the matter and take action on Girivan.
The cheated plot owners formed Girivan plot owners association five years back and now have 250 members.
The plot owners said…
1- “I have filed a case in consumer court. Shocking, Mhalagi told the court that I have never bought the land and have encroaches on the land. Mhalagi took money of total 18 guntha but registered only 13 guntha. He have no documents of one guntha land,” said Dr RN Chaturvedi, president of association.
2-Mhalagi and Gokhale have cheated to us with collaboration of government officials. Now we want justice,” said Arun Deshmukh, vice president of association. Seven years back Deshmukh bought 14,000 square fit lands, in which Mhalagi encroaches 1000 square fit land and constructed the road.
3- “I collected all documents that prove that Girivan is illegal. I will show on time,” said a plot owner, retired from central investigative agency.
4- “I feel like prison inside Girvan. If I try to walk in morning or evening the security guards objects that why I am roaming? I am shocked to know that Girvan is illegal,” said a woman plot owner who did not want to publish her name as Girivan management will harass her.
5- “If project falls in agriculture land then how Mhalagi and Gokhale developed him. Why not they have demarcated their land till now. They are qualified gunda,” said a plot holder who is also member of Girvan management.
Author visited farmer Ganesh Jauhri’s residence. His mother Sita Bai told that he is out of city for a week.
The other side
The management of Girivan replied to our query that, “our Project is absolutely legal. In our project there is no forest land. The land in project (Girivan) falls in Agriculture category. We have not cut trees. We have planted thousands of trees in the project with the help and assistance of the forest department. The revenue department has claimed an amount from us towards royalty. The matter is pending in the Court.”
“Everything is legal in our project. Some persons are defaming our project. They are creating nuisance. I challenge that if any person prove that we have encroaches forest land we will pay the double land. The some plot holders have illegally developed their plots,” said Vikram Gokhale,” chairman of the Girivan.
(Akela is working with MID DAY as Principle Correspondent)