Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Thursday dismissed the charges that he and his family were involved in illegal land acquisitions in Lavasa, India’s first planned hill city project in Maharashtra.

The NCP chief claimed that some 300 acres of land was given to the project in Pune.

“The State government has the authority to give the land as per the hill station policy. Eighty per cent of the 300 acres of land is submerged in water and there has been no construction. It has been done as per the policy and there are no two opinions about it,” he told reporters.

In Mumbai, the former IPS officer, Y.P. Singh, alleged that Mr. Pawar and his family were involved in illegal land acquisitions in Lavasa. Mr. Pawar admitted that his daughter Supriya Sule and son-in-law Sadanand Sule had shares in the Lavasa Corporation but they sold their stake in 2005-06 when there was a controversy.

The Union Minister said he was certainly present at Lavasa when the then Chief Minister convened a meeting there and he visited the project to see for himself the problems being faced in setting up a Lake City.

‘Gadkari is a responsible man’

Trashing land scam charges against BJP president Nitin Gadkari, Mr. Pawar came out in his defence saying he was working for the development of farmers.

“Gadkari is a responsible man who works responsibly,” Mr. Pawar said and asked Team Arvind Kejriwal that if it had any evidence of corruption against the BJP chief it should go to court.

“Anybody can say anything, but those who know Maharashtra, there are certain apex bodies which have 30 members ... We don’t discuss politics there, we discuss development,” he told CNN-IBN.

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