Maharashtra government to take action against Congress, NCP leaders over Waqf land deals

By Staff Reporter,

Mumbai: Not losing any opportunity to target opposition the BJP government in Maharashtra has indicated that criminal proceedings could be initiated against those responsible for alleged irregularities related to Waqf lands.

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The ATA Shaikh inquiry committee, appointed in 2007, had found large-scale violations in transactions related to Waqf land. The report which were submitted in April last year stated that of the total 1 lakh acres belonging to the board, 70,000 acres were either sold, transferred or encroached upon.

The report mentioned names of many politicians and the then board members including including Tariq Anwar (NCP), Rajendra Shingane, (late) Bhaskarrao Patil-Khatgaonkar, (late) MA Aziz (Congress), and former Waqf board members MY Patel and AU Pathan, among others.

In the legislative assembly on Thursday, Minister of State (Minorities Development) Dilip Kamble said, “The government was committed to probing all cases of illegalities and encroachments that the commission had found. If required, the government would even approach the CBI to probe the matter”

“Names of former minister Rajendra Shingne and NCP leader Tariq Anwar are there in the report and if needed, their police inquiry will be conducted,” he said.

Anwar was held guilty in the report for renewal of lease for a property in Aurangabad, Shingane for deletion of land from a certain category. The late MA Aziz, who was the chief of the Wakf board and ex-Congress MLA, too, was held responsible for illegal transfer of lands. Patel and Pathan were members of the board.

“We have already taken a decision to prohibit any more transfer of Waqf properties to any person or institution. The properties have been registered in the government’s name, which bans their sale or transfer. This will help us protect Waqf properties from misappropriation,” said Khadse, replying to the debate on budgetary grants to the minority development department.