The accused included senior bureaucrats and staff of the Maharashtra Government.
A local court has acquitted for want of evidence all 61 accused, including senior bureaucrats, on the charges of siphoning of public funds to a tune of Rs. 92 lakh by misusing the backward class housing scheme.
Among those acquitted by the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate A.N. Sontakke are the then Under Secretary Vijay N. Itkayal and other senior officials, including V.D. Valvi, V.D. Naik, S.N. Gavit and Lalita Itkiyal, other staffs of the Maharashtra government and of City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco), besides some builders.
According to prosecution, the officials, largely from Mantralaya, along with a Navi Mumbai-based builder floated Siti Tower Cooperative Housing Society in 1999 and sought assistance of Rs. 1.44 crore from the tribal development department to purchase a 16,000 sq. ft. plot in Nerul.
The first instalment of Rs. 92 lakh was released to the society in March 1999. However, an inquiry revealed that the housing society was not a registered body and the land that they claimed to have purchased at Nerul was originally allotted to 20 Cidco gardeners at a subsidised rate for their housing project.
Deputy Commissioner of Tribal Development, Thane, had registered the FIR in 2000, against 64 persons under various sections of Indian Penal Code for defrauding the state and under section 147 of the Co-operative Societies Act, 1960.
The investigation in the case was carried out by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and other agencies.
Out of total 64 accused, three accused died during pendency of the trial.