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EXPELLED CONGRESSMAN NARAYAN RANE AND UNION MINISTER SUSHIL KUMAR SHINDE COME UNDER SUPREME COURT SCANNER

rane2It is just as well that for the post of chief minister of Maharashtra, the Congress high command preferred Ashok Chavan over Sushilkumar Shinde and Narayan Rane. For, right in the throes of the regime change, both these former chief ministers suddenly found themselves in the dock before the Supreme Court. Union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and former Revenue Minister Narayan Rane have come under the apex court’s scanner for allotting huge tracts of reserve forest in Pune to private persons without obtaining the Centre’s approval under the Forest Conservation Act. While the SC-appointed Central Empowered Committee recommended that Rane, since suspended from the party for protesting Chavan’s elevation, be prosecuted for “criminal breach of trust”, it sought authorization to probe the documentary evidence against Union power minister Shinde by constituting a special investigation team. The CEC was asked to probe the transaction in which Rane had illegally allotted 11.89 hectares of reserve forest in Pune to a builder, Richie Rich Society Limited. The transaction involving Shinde came to light in the course of the inquiry into the one implicating Rane. The CEC found that in the allotments staggered over the last decade or so, the Maharashtra government had diverted as much as 21,750 hectares of reverse forest in Pune alone to private entities for various non-forest purposes, that too without obtaining the Centre’s statutory approval. Bureau report NMTV

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