Pune Land Deal Case Against Khadse: Sub-Registrar Gets Bail; Deed Not Undervalued, Says Court

An exceptional Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court granted bail to the sub-registrar in the Pune land deal case filed against senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Eknath Khadse and his wife Mandakini, stating that it does not emerge that the contract for the sale registered in 2016 was underpriced to pay the stamp duty.

The court also stated that there was zero evidence of any collusion or agreement amongst the accused, as well as actual participation in any process involving the criminal proceeds, such as concealing, acquisitions, or even use.

On October 4, Additional Sessions Judge HS Sathbhai granted Ravindra Muley, a sub-registrar from Haveli, Pune, bail.

Muley's lawyer, Mohan Tekavade, contended that the registering of the agreement caused no financial harm to the state, that the MIDC no-objection certificate (NOC) was also not essential, and also that the PMLA clause was not applicable.

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According to the court's detailed judgement, "it is not shown prima facie that charged Muley was a part of a scheme with accused Eknath Khadse, Mandakini, and son-in-law Girish Chaudhari previous to April 28, 2016 — the date of acquisition of property" Although there are charges of supporting the other suspects or intentionally conducting all operations of using criminal proceeds for sale transactions, the evidence on file is insufficient to trigger sections 3 and 4 of the PMLA Act, which deal with laundering money and penalties.

A particular statement levelled against the alleged Muley is that, while serving as a sub-registrar, he abused his position by registering an instrument sale deed with a valuation of only 3.75 crores, even though it was worth 22.83 crores. He also disregarded MIDC's claim to the property and failed to ask on MIDC's NOC when filing the document.

According to the charges in the case, the evaluation was indeed 3.75 crores, according to the state government's ready canonist, and the land was worth 22.83 crores. The stamp duty of 1.37 crores was provided by the individual who delivered the documentation to Muley for registering, according to the reckoner's valuation of 22.83 crores. The proper stamp duty of Rs.1.37 crores was paid based on 6% of the deed's market rate, according to the judgement. At first glance, it looks that the state budget has not been harmed. Muley is not responsible since the sale document executors stated that the consideration value was only 3.75 crores.

The specialized judge additionally noted that MIDC's initials did not display in the possession section of the property in question. Only one Abbas Ukani's name was surfacing. The complainant has not demonstrated that previous approval or a NOC from MIDC was needed to register the instrument. According to the 1908 Registration Act, the registration officer is not needed to validate the transferor's ownership. Whenever the identity of MIDC did not show up in the possession section of the land for which the sale deed was obtained from Muley's registration and the name of MIDC did appear in the other right column of the 7/12 extract, there was no reason to request a NOC from MIDC before registering the paperwork.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had charged with lawyers Hiten Venegoankar and Kavita Patil that Muley had abused his authority and recorded an instrument deed of sale of land for 22.83 crores while portraying its market value as 3.75 crores in connivance with other defendants.

It was reported that the land was acquired to receive reimbursement from the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) that was three times the property's true worth.