A car used by anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare was sold to a local businessman and supporter of the activist for Rs 9.11 lakh. The bidding opened at 4.05 lakh – estimated present value of the SUV – with 16 bidders participating in much publicised auction.
Most of the participants were from Ahmednagar, Hazare's home district. Soon after he made the payment, Hazare himself handed over the key to the new owner.
The vehicle- a Mahindra Scorpio W CRDE- was owned by Hazare's Swami Vivekanand Krutudnata Nidhi, a trust formed to govern the funds received by Hazare by way of awards. The car was bought for Hazare by fellow villagers as a gift by collecting contributions.
Hazare's aide Sanjay Pathade identified the man who baught the car for Rs 9.11 lakh as Atul Lokhande who is a farmer from neighbouring Shrigonda taluka and a long time supporter of Hazare who has participated in many of his agitations.
“When Anna was giving him the key, Lokhande requested him to keep the car arguing that it can be used by Anna's aides who accompany him on tours. Annaji, however, refused this request,” said Pathade.
Lokhande said that he baught the car with sole purpose of contributing money for buying a new car for Hazare.
“I had offered money to buy a new Innova for Hazare but he had refused. That's why I put my bid and baught the car,” said Lohande adding that he has a strong attachment with Hazare as he was born in Ralegan Siddhi and have worked with Hazare since childhood.
Anna's aides claimed that the vehicle is a witness to quite a few “historic events”.
“Using this vehicle, Anna travelled length and breadth of the country and successfully pioneered many a movements. It was this vehicle which witnessed Annaji's lonely yet successful fight against the corrupt ministers in 2007 and 2009; and the agitation against multi-crore scam in co-operative banks.
This is the same vehicle, which took Anna from place to place when he headed the nationwide Jan Lokpal movement. In 2011, the car was attacked by Congress workers in Nagpur when Annaji was gearing up for anti-corruption movement,” reads a statement put out by Hazare's aide on social media.
According to Hazare's assistant Datta Awari, Bandra based businessman Pradip Bhavanani who bought Mahatma Gandhi's home in Johannesburg house for Rs 2.25 crore too had reached Ralegan Siddhi to participate in the bidding but had to leave due to an emergency.