Even as the state government officially took back possession of the plot of land in Andheri allotted at throwaway prices to a trust promoted by Union Minister of State Rajeev Shukla, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan Friday said the trust’s demand of Rs 3 crore would be considered after examining the matter in detail.
While Chavan had directed the state administration to reclaim possession of the land, the government was in a fix over the trust’s demand for reimbursement of Rs 3 crore which it claims to have spent on the plots since these were allotted to it in 2007.
“We have received the trust’s letter. We will examine the matter in detail and accordingly decide further action in the case and if the money should be paid back,” Chavan said.
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Resident Deputy Collector (Mumbai Suburban) Shivaji Patil said that as per the order issued by his office, the tehsildar officially took back possession of the said land on Tuesday from BAG Film Education Society (BFES) officials. “In the presence of BFES officials and City Survey officials, the government took back the land from BFES,” said an official from the tehsildar’s office.
BFES, headed by Shukla’s wife Anuradha Prasad, was allotted a plot measuring 2,821 sqm, which is reserved for a municipal school, for a paltry Rs 98,735 in 2007. The trust was also leased an adjoining 3,534-sqm plot, reserved for a playground, for 15 years at Rs 6,309 per year. When the trust applied for the land, Shukla himself was the BFES secretary.
The allotment triggered a controversy last November after it emerged that BFES had plans to enter into a joint venture with RIMS Institute, a management education institute which also runs schools and junior colleges.
BFES first wrote to Chavan on December 4 last year, offering to return the land. Later, it argued that the trust was in no position to construct a school on the plot owing to various hurdles and asked the government to take back possession of the land immediately. Claiming it had spent Rs 3 crore on the plots since 2007 for removal of encroachment and security, BFES had also asked for reimbursement.
On Thursday, the Bombay High Court, while hearing a PIL in the case, directed the state government to make submission about the status of the land.