Land scam in MHADA

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by parijataka, May 27, 2012.

  1. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

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    An internal probe into how the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) is left with barely two hectares of land in Mumbai to cater to the financial capital’s soaring housing needs has found that more than 20 hectares were sold at throwaway prices between 1999 and 2003, with the beneficiaries including politicians or their trusts.

    The 20 hectares were spread over 67 plots and the allotments were made by a state government sub-committee comprising a handful of Congress and NCP ministers, some of these in violation of rules. Of these, 52 were sanctioned when Vilasrao Deshmukh was the chief minister and 15 when Sushilkumar Shinde was holding power. The preferential allotment of land meant for public housing and amenities was stopped by the Bombay High Court in April 2004 when Shinde was chief minister.

    Many of the plots were allotted to educational institutions controlled by senior Congress or NCP ministers. These included Rahebar Foundation, whose trustees are NCP MLA Nawab Malik’s wife and sister; Congress MLA Madhukar Chavan’s Raigad Military School; and Cabinet minister Jayant Patil’s Kasegaon Education Society. Incidentally, Malik and Patil were part of the sub-committee that allotted the plots while Chavan was the then MHADA chairman.

    In one case, a 10,000 sq m plot in Oshiwara meant for a hospital was given to the Nargis Dutt Trust, of which Congress MP Priya Dutt is a trustee. The deal was criticised by a 2009 CAG report as being tailored to confer undue benefits to the trust. The CAG report pointed out that while the trust was sanctioned land in 2000, it insisted on being charged a rent of only Rs 1 per year for 99 years. Finally, the allotment was made in December 2007 at a concessional rate of Rs 21 crore. This was further reduced to Rs 11 crore following a request from the trust.

    Plots meant for public housing in the prime suburb of Bandra were allotted to Congress MLC Subhash Chavan and former general secretary of the Mumbai Congress Ajit Sawant, and in Juhu to Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi. In some cases, allotments were made to housing societies formed by senior bureaucrats, such as the Meera Housing Society in Oshiwara in which former municipal commissioner Jairaj Phatak was one of the members. Phatak is in jail at present for his alleged role in the Adarsh Housing Society scam.

    While land disposal rules do not allow allotments to be made to real estate developers, plots with an area of over 1,000 sq m each were allotted to Blue Star realtors in Andheri and Dinshaw Trapinex Builders Pvt Ltd in Versova. The biggest plot allotted was a four-hectare mangrove stretch in Versova to 3M Gymkhana Private Limited.

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