Right to Information
CVC to conduct inquiry against Pune’s Divisional Commissioner

RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar, who unearthed Prabhakar Deshmukh’s land scam and acquisition of wealth in gross violation of service rules, filed a complaint to CVC, which will now conduct an inquiry

Over and above the 300 acre agricultural land scam in Jambhe village of Satara district of Pune’s Divisional Commissioner Prabhakar Deshmukh, details of which are here, owns several properties in his family’s name. Right to Information (RTI) activist Vijay Kumbhar unearthed other properties of Deshmukh in the name of his wife and other family members. The case of owning such assets is in gross violation of All India Services (Conduct) Rules. A formal complaint was sent to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) Delhi last fortnight. The CVC has acknowledged the complaint that would lead to investigation in this matter against Deshmukh.
In his complaint to the CVC, Kumbhar has alleged “corruption and favouritism”, stating that Prabhakar Deshmukh (IAS), presently Divisional Commissioner of Pune, Maharashtra, “is a very influential officer in Maharashtra. In his entire tenure, he has hardly been posted out of Pune Division and since last more than ten years he has been posted in Pune only”.  

Kumbhar, who rigorously used Section 4 to bring out the scandal, says he has sent “substantial evidence” against Deshmukh. His complaint reads thus:

“Although there are several allegations against Mr Prabhakar Deshmukh, I am citing only those cases for which there is concrete documentary evidence. There is violation of All India Services (Conduct) Rules especially Sections 9, 11, 13, 14 and 16, Maharashtra Agriculture Land Ceiling Act and the nature of these acts is unbecoming of an IAS Officer. All details of Jambhe land scam here…

    Mrs Anuradha Deshmukh, wife of Mr Prabhakar Deshmukh in October 2006, purchased a plot in Mundhwa area of Pune admeasuring 593 Sq. m. from a real estate management company named Abhay Property Management Pvt Ltd, at a cost of  Rs4.75 lakh, almost 75% less than the ready reckoner cost, which was Rs16.04 lakh. Normally, such transactions are always at prices that are more than the ready reckoner price. Mrs Anuradha Deshmukh signed an agreement regarding the property for a project floated as Eastern Ranges by Phadnis Properties. The cost of the above-mentioned property escalated to Rs60.28 lakh from Rs4.75 lakh. The ready reckoner price had come to Rs41.44 lakh.  Mrs Phadnis has been signing other documents in the name of Phadnis Properties. This is evident because she also had a development agreement with Phadnis Properties.
   Mrs Deshmukh has purchased agriculture land at Wakhari in Daund Tehsil of Pune district. Here too, she purchased a property of which ready reckoner rate was Rs36.40 lakh by paying just Rs12.26 lakh to poor farmers
    In 2006, Mrs Deshmukh’s father purchased three acres of agricultural land for a mere Rs8 lakh. The father then generously gifted this land to Mrs Deshmukh. On the setting up of the Integrated Township Project, Mrs Deshmukh sold this plot at an unknown price. However, the cost of this land shown in the Immovable Property Return (IPR) of Mr Deshmukh is Rs95 lakh.
   Mr Deshmukh himself, wife Anuradha, son Mayuraj and daughter Harshada purchased land at Nanded Township in Pune city and here also a huge integrated township has come up and all purchasers have signed joint venture agreement with the developer.
    One Sindhu Naik-Nimbalkar gifted two plots at Akluj in Solapur district in September 2010 admeasuring 311.40 sq. m.  and 290.4 sq. m. (In IPR only one plot is shown) to Mr Deshmukh’s son Mayuraj and in April 2011, he sold these plots for Rs35 lakh.
    Mr. Deshmukh’s family has floated four companies. None finds a mention in his IPR. These companies are (a) Ornate Graphics Private Limited, 11, Pushpanjali Apts., 20/100 Gidney Park, Salisbury Park, Pune  (b) Kernel Ornate Private Limited, 11, Pushpanjali Apts., 20/100 Gidney Park, Salisbury Park, Pune (c) Dream Social Foundation, Sadamangal Co-op Hsg society, S. no. 103, flat no 10, bldg no 3, Shastri Nagar, Yerawada. One of these companies has purchased about 5,000 sq. ft. commercial office in Magarpatta city, a huge and prime township in Pune. Obviously, this is not shown in IPR of Mr Deshmukh
    Mrs Deshmukh is director in a company named Subodh Industries Private Ltd, 11, Pushpanjali Apts., 20/100 Gidney Park, Salisbury Park, Pune since 2004. This Company possesses many immovable properties. This too is not mentioned in IPR of Mr Deshmukh
   Many companies are registered at 11, Pushpanjali Apts., 20/100 Gidney Park, Salisbury Park, Pune. In some of these companies relatives of either Mrs Deshmukh or Mr Deshmukh’s are directors. Moreover most of the directors of these companies have purchased huge immovable properties in prime locations of Pune.
    In Ornate Graphics Pvt Ltd, there was one director named Sangram Zunjarrao Deshmukh. This gentleman is also a director in Anupriya Sugar Pvt  Ltd. In Anupriya Sugar, there is another Director Sangram Khanajirao Jadhav.  Mr Jadhav is the one who has sold land in Nanded city to Prabhakar Deshmukh.

Kumbhar says, “This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you investigate the matter in totality, you will find more and more such misdeeds. I have already lodged complaint with Government of Maharashtra. MP Kirit Somaiya has lodged a complaint with Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) of Maharashtra. It is also said that ACB has asked sanction for public inquiry in this case. However, the Government of Maharashtra has not given such permission.  Please investigate the matter and take appropriate action as per law as soon as possible.”

To add to this, Ajit Pawar, the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, had gone on public record stating that after hearing a few conversations on phone (phone tapping?), he has concluded that all the accusations are invalid.

You may also want to read…

How RTI activist exposed Pune Div Commissioner Prabhakar Deshmukh’s land scam



Dwindling gas supplies and ambiguous price situation

It may be presumed that Reliance will have to continue its supplies of gas, "on account basis", because, so far, no clear announcement has been made as to what would happen to pricing of natural gas

It took several months of negotiation. From a high production, the fall in gas supplies from Reliance Industries, has gone down to 10 msmcd, whereas, at once stage, it was in the 60s and hopes were high to reach the 80s! At the moment, it looks more like a geographical surprise than anything else, but our national plans have gone wary.


The revised price, announced by the Ministry of Petroleum, cannot be brought into effect from 1st April, in line with the existing contract, due to the ensuing elections when millions will go to the polls from 7th April. According to the announcement already made, polling will continue till the evening of 16th May, and the results will begin to hit the TV screens probably from 17/18th May onwards. Details are expected.


Though Reliance has 50 agreements with its consumers, only 16 of them are "active" or "alive" as these relate to supply of gas to fertiliser units. Exact quantities of gas supplied to each of these unit is not readily available, but, whatever the quantity supplied is not adequate to meet the full demand.


The model of code of conduct, which comes into effect now, technically expires only on 16th May as mentioned above. It may, therefore, be presumed that Reliance will have to continue its supplies of gas, "on account basis", because, so far, no clear announcement has been made as to what would happen after the "polling" is effectively completed on 16th May.


Since a clear cut statement has not been made by the Ministry, both Reliance and the fertiliser industry are at a loss to know what to do, except hope, that in order to maintain supply continuity, Reliance will serve the cause of the national interest and supply the gas "on account basis", till official announcement is made by the new government.


It is difficult to conjecture as to who will be forming the government, and what will be their order of priorities for the jobs to be done, since portfolios have to be allocated and cabinet meetings have to take place before decisions of such national importance are made.


Meantime, it is reported that Reliance wants to have new negotiated agreements with buyers, calling them as "bridge agreement" which may have to be revised when final decision on price is taken! As far as the fertiliser industry is concerned, they want such agreements to be for a period of 5 years, instead of one year as suggested by Reliance, who has also maintained that the proposed agreement is "aligned" with the Rangarajan price formula based on which price changes every quarter!


Revision of price, every quarter, would not be practical in actual implementation and a simpler annual rate, perhaps, would be more realistic and workable.


The other major issue that has been raised is to follow the global practice of adhering to "gross caloric value" (GVC); if Reliance calculates on GVC, then the price may go up by a $1 per unit. This again, needs further clarification and approval by the ministry.


Moneylife has regularly covered on the gas supplies in the past; and it is now time that, when the new government takes over the administration, a detailed study is made and discussions are carried in depth with all the gas and oil producers to come to a consensus decision, so that there are no periodic pinpricks that come up and affect the people at large.


(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)


RBI keeps repo, CRR, and other key rates unchanged

While keeping key rates unchanged, the RBI said it would allowing the rate increases undertaken during September 2013-January 2014 to work their way through the economy

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in its first bi-monthly credit policy review has kept repo, reverse repo, cash reserve ratio (CRR) and bank rate unchanged. The RBI said its policy stance will be firmly focussed on keeping the economy on a disinflationary glide path that is intended to hit 8% consumer price index (CPI) inflation by January 2015 and 6% by January 2016.


"At the current juncture, it is appropriate to hold the policy rate, while allowing the rate increases undertaken during September 2013-January 2014 to work their way through the economy. Furthermore, if inflation continues along the intended glide path, further policy tightening in the near term is not anticipated at this juncture," the central bank in its policy statement.


With no change in key policy rates, the repo rate (the rate at which the RBI lends money to banks) remains at 8%. Similarly reverse repo rate (the rate at which the RBI borrows from banks), CRR, and bank rate remains at 7%, 4.00% and 9%, respectively.


Repo Rate.......................8%

Reverse Repo Rate...........7%


Bank Rate.......................9%


RBI said despite some positive movement in more recent data, industrial activity continues to be a drag on the economy, with retrenchment in both consumption and investment demand reflected in the contraction of output of consumer durables as well as capital goods.


"In the quarters ahead, the boost provided by robust agricultural production in 2013 may wane. Moreover, the outlook for the 2014 south-west monsoon appears uncertain. Sluggishness in industrial activity, exports and several categories of services underlines the need to revitalise productivity and competitiveness," the central bank said.


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