Farmers take back NiMo land
Mumbai: Farmers have "reclaimed" 125 acres in Maharashtra's Ahmednagar district, claiming that bank fraud accused Nirav Modi had acquired their plots at prices below the market rate.
A group of over 200 farmers, who arrived in bullock carts at Khandala in Karjat tehsil, symbolically reoccupied the land, ploughing a part of it using a tractor. The farmers said they would start cultivation on the entire tract soon.
They said the plots had been acquired on behalf of Nirav's Firestar company a few years ago. The land is among properties attached by the Enforcement Directorate as part of a probe against Modi, who has fled the country, said an activist. Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are accused of defrauding the state-run Punjab National Bank out of Rs 13,000 crore.
The protesting farmers carried the Tricolour, portraits of Shivaji and B.R. Ambedkar, and a banner of the Kaali Aai Mukti Sangram, a farmers' organisation.
"The land was acquired from the farmers for around Rs 15,000 per acre whereas the government rate for land compensation in the area is around Rs 20 lakh per acre now," lawyer and activist Karbhari Gawli, who was part of the protest, said over the phone from Ahmednagar.