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The body of Atul Mhatre, aged 35 years, was found in a village near Panvel on Sunday. Mhatre was murdered with a knife or sharp weapon. Mhatre was employed in the rehabilitation and property dept of CIDCO’s belapur office. He was last seen at Belapur on Friday evening while returning home to Uran. His car was later found abandoned on Uran-Panvel road.
It may help to know that Mhatre was employed with CIDCO for the past 15 years and was recently transferred to the property dept where he was assigned to rehabilitate villagers in Kamothe under the 12.5% gaothan scheme. His body had 42 injuries from a sharp weapon and he was tortured before his killing. Atul used to work as a clerk in the land section of CIDCO.
According to his family, Atul was recently involved in the selling of a plot of land owned by his distant relative to a builder in Navi Mumbai. The price of the land was initially fixed at 25 lakhs but Atul had asked the builder to pay over Rs.1 crore based on the current market rate of the land.
Four people including a real estate agent by the name of Prem patil have been arrested for th e murder of Atul Mhatre. Patil said that he had paid Atul 3 lakh rupees to allot a plot of land to his client under the 12.5% Gaothan scheme.
(Readers should know that 12.5% gaothan scheme is a scheme whereby the original inhabitants of Navi Mumbai are allotted land in return for the farmland they surrendered to the govt. Recent past has seen a lot of scams wherein CIDCO officials in collusion with villagers, conspire with the help of fake documents to get land allotted in their name.)
When Atul Mhatre asked for 20 lakhs, Patil plotted the murder of Mhatre along with his friends-Nitin Bhoir (23), Andy Cruz (27) and Kunal Salunke (25).Patil allegedly paid Cruz 1 lakh rupees as a supari.
This along with previous incidents of corruption in the lands section of CIDCO shows that officials working in the dept are more of agents and less of govt employees. Some of them are rumored to have earned 100’s of crores by mediating in land deals between builders and gaonwalas. One only has to visit the CIDCO office in Belapur to see the rampant goondagiri of agents and officials in the office. How many more cases like this the govt needs to wake up is anybody’s guess.