Wakf board ex-CEO suspended for Rs 2500 cr land goof up in Nashik

Mumbai/Nashik : At a time when land dealings have become the high talking point across Maharashtra, thanks to the alleged land purchase by top bureaucrats along the proposed Nagpur-Mumbai Express way and the land grab case in Pune involving ex-minister Eknath Khadse, here comes another land scam. The state government has suspended a former chief executive officer (CEO) of the Wakf board for wrongly certifying a large plot in Nashik as non-Wakf land.

The order to suspend Naseeba Bano Patel, currently superintendent of land records in Aurangabad, was issued by the revenue department on Friday after a departmental inquiry conducted by the minorities department under principal secretary Shyam Tagade found that she had illegally passed an order in February 2016 declaring a 55-acre plot in Nashik donated to a mosque as non-wakf, thus benefitting private persons who sold the land to a developer who has begun construction at the site.

The price of the land has been estimated by the department to be close to Rs 2,500 crore. Patel had been appointed as temporary CEO of the board in 2015 when she was already holding charge as superintendent of land records in Aurangabad. Wakf land is an inalienable religious endowment in Islamic law and is donated for religious or charitable purposes with no intention to reclaim it.

This, in particular, is not just any piece of land. It (survey number 980 and 981) was donated to a mosque called Masjid Dudadhari in Borwadi in Nashik by Mughal emporer Shah Jahan in the 17th century. The state has a copy of the revenue document which bears the royal stamp of Shah Jahan and his revenue officer for that area, Murad Baksh.