Illegal sale of Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar’s Charities!

Indore bench of MP high court on Monday directed economic offences wing (EOW) to probe into allegations of illegal sale of a property of Khasgi (Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar Charities) Trust property and formed a high-level c committee to recover, retrieve and restore them. The division bench comprising Justice SC Sharma and Justice  SC Sharma and Justice Shailendra Shukla turned down a demand  for CBI probe into the alleged illegal sale of Khasgi proper  and directed EOW to ‘thoroughly examine the matter and if it finds any criminality into the actions of any authority.  Welcoming the decision of the High Court regarding the properties of Khasgi Trust, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has described it as a big and significant decision.
After the High Court decision on Khasgi Trust, Chief Minister that illegal constructions have been made on the properties of the Khasgi Trust, which have been sold as well as charges have been made regarding foul play.
Ahilyabai Holkar was the hereditary noble queen of the Maratha Empire in 17th century. Ahilyabai's husband Khanderao Holkar was killed in the battle of Kumbher in 1754. Twelve years later, her father-in-law, Malhar Rao Holkar, died. A year after that she took over the affairs of Holkar state. She tried to protect her land from plundering invaders. She personally led armies into battle. Ahilyabai was a great pioneer and builder of Hindu temples. She built hundreds of temples and Dharmashalas throughout India.
It may be noted that Khasgi Trust has 246 properties including 138 temples, 18 Dharamshalas, 34 Ghats, 12 Chhatris, 24 gardens and kunds etc., which are located in different places of the country and the state.
It may be noted that former chief secretary and present state election commissioner BP Singh may find himself in a tight corner over the sale of Kushawart Ghat in Hardwar, Ahilya Haveli and other properties. As a government representative, Singh gave his consent for the sale of those properties at a meeting of the trust. At that time, Singh was the commissioner of Indore division and a member of the trust. When the issue of sale of properties came up at the meeting Singh gave his nod for it. The properties were sold with the permission of the trust members. Apart from Singh, BM Shrivastava of PWD was one of the members of the trust, who also signed the deal. The property in Hardwar was sold for a song – Rs 50 lakh – but its actual cost was many times more than that. The process to sell the properties of Khasogi trust began in 2006. A proposal for that was passed at a general body meeting of the trust. In 2007, an agreement was signed for selling the properties at Rs 50 lakh. After the High Court order, the probe agency may tighten its noose around the trust members for permitting the sale of properties. Chief Minister ensured that the government will make all possible efforts to retrieve the trust properties.

- Prabhakar Purandare

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