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Court to ACB: Probe allegations against Hiranandani’s Powai project

A Sessions Court on Monday directed the State Anti-Corruption Bureau to look into allegations levelled against the Powai project of developer Niranjan Hiranandani’s firm.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: July 3, 2012 4:55:07 am

A Sessions Court on Monday directed the State Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to look into allegations levelled against the Powai project of developer Niranjan Hiranandani’s firm.

The complaint,filed by social activist Medha Patkar’s associate Santosh Daundkar,says the state had — in 1986 — signed an agreement with Hiranandani for the Powai Housing Development Scheme for economically weaker sections (EWS),which was announced in 1977 and to be implemented over 140 hectares in Powai,Kopri and Tirandaz villages. The firm was also given 230 acres on an 80-year lease at the rate of 40 paise per acre.

In return,the builder was asked to build flats and sell them at the rate of Rs 150 per sq ft. However,an inquiry held in 2009 revealed that the developer had utilised only 76,120 sq m of built-up area of the 5.74 lakh sq m sanctioned by the state. The rest was converted into luxury apartments admeasuring 2,000 to 5,000 sq ft and sold at Rs 8,000 to Rs 15,000 per sq ft.

“We had sought an investigation. The court has directed the ACB to investigate and file its report,” Daundkar said.

The Bombay High Court had,in February,restrained Hiranandani builders from constructing on the open space available under the Powai Housing Development Scheme without seeking its permission. In her petition before the High Court,Patkar alleged that Hiranandani had “cheated” weaker sections of society and flouted the basic condition on which the land was returned to the original land owners by the MMRDA.

The basic condition,Patkar contended,was that the 140 hectares of land in Powai had to be used for providing mass housing for weaker sections of the society with 50 per cent tenements of 40 sq m each and the rest of 80 sq m each.

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