The BJP-led Maharashtra government has appointed senior bureaucrat Gautam Chatterjee to probe the allotment and change in the land use of a prime Bandra plot given to Associated Journals Ltd (AJL). Chatterjee is a senior IAS officer of the 1982 batch and is currently an additional chief secretary in the state government in charge of transport and ports.
Confirming Chatterjee’s appointment, CM Devendra Fadnavis on Friday said: “Chatterjee will look into whether or not any irregularity has been committed. If yes, to what extent. Based on his report, we will decide what action should be taken.”
The 3,478-square metre plot along the arterial Western Express Highway was originally allotted to AJL, the company that once published National Herald, the newspaper launched
by Nehru, for constructing a Nehru memorial research centre, library and a printing press in 1983. In 2001, the urban development department allegedly granted AJL permission to construct an 11-storey commercial building on the plot, that had been vacant for three decades.
The row comes amid a political controversy over the National Herald court case, in which Congress president Sonia Gandhi and son Rahul Gandhi were summoned for an appearance before the trial judge last week. The court case stems from allegations that Congress leaders illegally acquired properties worth Rs 5,000 crore of the National Herald after AJL was taken over by Young Indian Pvt Ltd, a firm in which the Gandhis reportedly had a huge stake.