For family again: Patilís MP funds for sports complex on land leased to husband society
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On April 26, 2007, just over six weeks before the UPA-Left announced Pratibha Patil's name for President, the Congress-led Maharashtra government leased out 25,000 square feet of prime land in Amravati to her husband's education society. And agreed to build a sports complex on it using Rs 36 lakh from Patil's MP Local Area Development Fund Scheme (MPLADS) she got way back in 1996 when she was a Lok Sabha MP.
Rule 3.21 of the new rules of MPLADS clearly says that funding "is not permissible to a Society/Trust if the recommending MP or any of his/her family members is President/Chairman or Managing Committee or Trustee of the Society/Trust in question. Family members would include MP and MP's spouse...children."
This has been cleverly circumvented.
So, it's the government that will build the complex and own it as well but on land leased out to Vidyabharati Shikshan Sanstha founded by Patil's husband Devisingh Shekhawat.
A visit to the site shows that this land is right next to Vidyabharati College, which this society runs. Patil's son Raosaheb Shekhawat is the chairman of the society and Devisingh Shekhawat is now its Treasurer.
According to the administrative approval granted by Collector Ravindra Jadhav on May 4, 2007, a maintenance committee set up by Shekhawat's college will look after the complex. The Collector will be its chairman and District Sports Officer will be its member.
Official records and court papers, accessed by The Indian Express, show how the MPLADS funds finally reached the college's doorstep:
1992: The 25,000-square feet of land next to Shekhawat's college is reserved for "educational use." Shekhawat is then the Mayor of the Amravati Municipal Corporation.
November 8, 1996: Patil allocates Rs 36 lakh from her MPLADS scheme and writes to the Collector, Amravati, asking for a sports complex on this land.
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