Two farmers from whom she bought the plots claimed Damania had told them she would use the land for farming purposes. Karjat is about 120 km east of Mumbai with a significant green belt and is a popular weekend getaway for Mumbaikars.
In 2007, Damania bought 39 contiguous plots totalling seven acres from farmers in Kharvandi village, adjacent to the Kondivade village where the Kondhane dam is proposed on the Ulhas river. According to official documents available with the village talati (a local government employee), the Raigad district collector had permitted change of land use from agricultural to non-agricultural for these plots.
Reached for her comment, Damania said there was nothing illegal in the transactions. “The plots were bought in 2007 as agricultural plots and soon after, I applied with the collector’s office in Raigad to change the user type of these lands from agricultural to non-agricultural. In 2011, these applications were approved following which 37 plots were sold to different buyers. I can produce all the required papers to prove that everything was done legally. If someone thinks this is wrong, the problem then actually lies with the government’s policy in changing the land-use from agricultural to non-agricultural. I am being targeted now because I raised my voice against a corrupt system,” she told The Indian Express.
The land in question had vegetation when bought in 2007, but it gave way to a project of private villas called `Alpine Village’. The project belongs to SVV Developers of which Damania is a director. Of the 39 plots carved out in Alpine Village, 37 were sold to private individuals until August 2011.
Two farmers, Vinod Sonawane and Ramdas Sonawane, said they both sold land to Damania at about Rs 75, 000 per acre in 2007. Damania said she did not remember when asked about the rate at which the 37 plots were sold by her in 2011 after their land-use was changed to non-agricultural.
Vinod Sonawane, who sold 3.5 acres, said Damania purchased the land from him at Rs 2.5 lakh. “My father grew rice and pulses but none of the vegetation exists now. She told us the land will be used for agricultural purposes,” he said. Ramdas Sonawane said he sold the 1.75 acre plot at Rs 1.60 lakh.
Soon after Damania filed a PIL against alleged irregularities in the construction of the Kondhane dam in April 2012, an inquiry of all plots of land belonging to her in Karjat was initiated under the authority of tehsildar Jagatsingh Girase. In August, Girase issued an order which said Damania had provided inadequate proof of being a farmer and so the 36 plots she had bought claiming to be a farmer were taken back by the government. “On physical inspection of these plots, we found that Damania had not carried out agricultural activities on most of them,” he said.
Damania’s fellow petitioner in the PIL, Ajay Mathankar, also owns a plot with two farm-houses close to the dam site. Ajay is the son of former IAS officer Vijay Mathankar, who was the CEO of Raigad Zilla Parishad for three years and is currently the senior vice president of DB Realty.
Owner of a Mumbai based advertising firm, Ajay Mathankar confirmed that the plot belonged to him. “I have been open about the fact that I am a land-owner in this area. When I bought the land in 2011, I was not aware that it was going to be included in the area required for the dam. Irregularities and corruption involved in the construction of the dam prompted me to become a part of the PIL,” he said.
Anjali Damania purchased some agricultural land. Later classification of that land was changed by the collector to non agricultural land, perhaps to homestead land to be used by builders. That is the practice followed all over the country. By this process the agricultural land extent by everyday and is dangerous
Dear Anjali.Apne aapko public Domain me lane ka achha idea hai Kisi pe koi Ilzam laga do aur apna naam publicised kar do.Aise IAC ke sabhi log yahi Idea apna rahe hain.
Sir, I would like to point out one thing. You talk everything bad about those, who fight against corruption. Please try to expose sometimes those who ACTUALLY DO corruption.. If Anjali'ji wanted money only (as suggested by your article), she could have easily settled the matter by accepting the money that was offered to her by builders and those involved in irrigation scam. But she refused to do it and she chose to fight against those corrupts. This is an act of a brave person. We should support her in her fight against corruption and irregularities involved in the irrigation projects in Maharashtra. Instead, what you are doing is , to make charges against her. Sir, I really want to know from you.. do you not want a corrupt free India? Do you not love your country? Why are you supporting these corrupt politicians? everyone knows what the 'wealth' of sharad pawar is! Still you want proof against him? Sir, please support the patriots who fight for a better future of India. Jai hind!
this is what Annaji had feared - vested interests with their own agenda will seep into IAC and kejriwal will be surrounded by such people - this lady was claiming in the TV that she is a commoner and small person - but she has gobbled so much of agricultural land. A black mark for the civil society activists
I was never convinced about her charges against political bigwigs. Her arguments were just frivolous One can easily make out while watching her on TV that she became member of IAC not out of any conviction to root out corruption but only after her fight to stop the dam to save her own land from getting submerged could not succeed. Had she succeeded in her efforts , she would have sold this 30 acre plus land and would have laughed all the way to the bank and damned with fight against corruption. Let her tell whether she used only legal means or any extra methods to get her agricultural land converted into non agricultural use. Let her tell that she did not pay any bribe.
What is wrong if she went through it legally and the govt changed land use? Ultimately the govt approved change in land use and the issue that Express should raise is on what basis/how land use change is approved!The Indian Express ought to investigate what has happened in Gurgaon where farmers have been ripped off by govt/buliders. Apart fro DLF who all benefitted and how? 'Journalism of courage' seems to have become just a tagline to keep memories of Express in the olden days alive
Anjali Damania does not seem to be representing 'Aam Aadmi' as per this article. Buying farmers lands, changing land use and then selling it for profit. How is she different from Supriya Sule in principle. Difference is only of the scale. There seems to be much more than meets the eye.
IAC stands for "Indian Association of Corrupts". They are likely to fail in their mission as they are power hungry and in to politics. Anna and Baba Ramdev can create movement against corruption successfully.
So, in nut shell, Anjali Damania and Kejriwal's show was " Chor Machaye SHOR!"
Such reports are just purely ridiculous. There is no point in digging the graves of social activists. For GOD's sake leave them alone and let them do the good work and journalism should be more focused on the bigger Looters of all time who are still looting the country! In every one's life, some one would have told a lie or did something illegal but the big question is, should we as a responsible journalists spend time on looting to the tune of few thousands of rupees or be more worried about crores and lakhs and millions Rupee of looting happening day in and day out in broad day light????? I am really dissapointed by the report and that too coming from a JOURNALISM OF COURAGE!!! P.S.: I have no connection with IAC. I am just an AAM ADMI who is angry looking at the state of affairs. So don't come running after me now :P
IAC may need to take note of this and introspect whether they should Anjali share the stage with them. If Mr Gadkari's buying of 100 acres is questionable, then Anjali's buying of 3.5 acres also seems questionable given that, she converted the 'land of farmers' to make profits... Is Mr Arvind Kejriwal listening?
While if Damania has done something illegal she should be punished. But I felt this article has taken a tone of 'ulta chor koutwal ko datein' (the thief is scolding the cop). Even if she has done something, it doesn't absolve the accusations she is making on the government. My comment is just to clarify that - Her accusations have to be viewed independent from her.
ab pata chala anjali damania ko gusa kyon atta hai..
This woman activist Anjaliis is a seasoned liar and will surely destroy Arvind kejriwal's any credibility left. Arvind Kejriwal has been a victim of his own ambition claiming to be the only corruption-free team. The whole episode of false presentations of Nitin Gadkari's case when the farmer Gajanan himself denied (See TOI today) saying anything to Anjali (a horrible activist like Teesta taking recourse to frequent lies) or the other falsehood (water is being diverted in totality) has thoroughly exposed his championship as well as his credibility. The moment Anna left him, he is a rudderless ship not knowing which direction to go. YP Singh is exactly correct when he questions the motive of Arvind in targeting a much less important case and letting a mega scam slip on the pretext of balancing although he had all the details.
This democracy is seems be not for the people as it is a ground for playing melodramas of allegations and counter allegations.We the ordinary citizens are merely silent spectators of this melodrama of politicans and social activits.Please stop this type of nonsence as the people are fed up with this type of mockery democracy.The political leaders are either Dada,s or big business men having money power and muscle power. As a citizen Iam not intersted for these type of democracy as we want real peoples democracy.
Indian Express don't know that Taxpayers pay taxes to the Govt not to Anjali Damania.
Seems normal to me. There are millions of transactions like this under the applicable rules (as interpreted by the officials-in-charge). So?.... what is the motive for this article?
IAC Crusader Anjali Damania should explain following before throwing dirt on others - How did she bought Agricultural Land when she is not a farmer and prerequisite for Agricultural Land buying needs one to be Farmer? How compensation to Adivasi's is fine for her against State compensate her for land getting submerged by Dam? How can she plot agricultural land into Residential plots for selling them as "Builder" and cry foul when inquiry is initiated? Farmers whom she claimed were affected have called her expose as Vengeance for her ulterior motives, whats her take on that? How different she is from the Land sharks who dupe farmers of their land to benefit herself? Lots of answering to be done by her and Arwind Kejriwal.
Buying agricultural land, converting to non-agricultural and selling plot is a legitimate business. If Govt or BJP or Indian exporess sees anything wrong with, they can set up inquiry. All investigating agencies work for Cong Govt. If Anjali has done anything illigal, she will not speak up against NCP, whose partner is congress. Congress can make Anjali's life miserable, if works for IAC and does anything illigal.
The effect of 'name-and-shame' is that it can boomerang. Unfortunately, Kejriwal has unwittingly set the cat amongst the pigeons by riding on folks like Damania and not having a proper strategy and focus! If you look deep enough everyone will have a skeleton in their cupboards, and Kejriwal has forgotten this. The real danger is that the IAC movement will soon be lost in trivialities!!