Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Friday dismissed Ahmedabad city town planner officer Ashutosh Pandya for his alleged involvement in cases of corruption and irregularities. The press release issued by the Information Department stated that the decision was taken by the Chief Minister after “substantial truth was found” into the complaints filed against Pandya alleging his involvement in corruption in various town planning schemes of Ahmedabad city.
Claiming that the action was in line with the government’s “zero tolerance against corruption” in administration, the release stated, “To further strengthen the campaign against corruption, the anti-corruption bureaus would be equipped with latest technologies and additional man-force.”
According to sources, the first report highlighting the alleged corruption and misappropriation charges against Pandya, an employee of Urban Development Department, was sent by the Ahmedadad Municipal Corporation in 2016. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) Commissioner Mukesh Kumar, however, refused to comment, saying that Pandya was not an AMC employee.
Sources said that there were three major charges against Pandya who was involved with Town Planning scheme 204 that covers one of the most sought-after and prime properties in New West Zone areas of Makarba and its surrounding areas along the Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway.
As per the Estate Department’s estimates, the corruption charges against Pandya involve hundreds of crores of rupees. One of the corruption charge against Pandya involves reduction of AMC’s prime reserved land for public schemes from 24 lakh square metres to only 2 lakh square metres.
The second case relates to unauthorised change of plots from one zone to another, and the third case is linked to moving of plots from inferior to superior locations, when taken into account the real estate prices. Sources said that it took almost two years for the government to act against Pandya. They said that the Chief Minister announced the decision of “firing” Pandya only after a report was sent to the government after an enquiry was conducted.