The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) headquarters on Wednesday witnessed an uproar in the standing committee meeting over a plot of land in Jogeshwari with corporators across party lines hitting out at the administration as it failed to acquire the prime land worth Rs 500 crore.
The BMC wanted to acquire the 13,460 square metre plot for a recreation ground, but failed to do so in time. The private owner of the land had issued the civic body a purchase notice.
The BMC, which subsequently lost the matter in the Bombay High Court, was reportedly keen to appeal in the Supreme Court but the Municipal Commissioner’s remark on the file was allegedly tampered with, leading to the BMC eventually losing the case and the land.
The Mumbai Congress has demanded a probe against Ajoy Mehta after the civic body lost the court case pertaining to acquisition of the plot. It also sought an investigation into the “mysterious” death of a BMC worker, allegedly involved in the file tampering case.
On Wednesday morning, a delegation of Congress corporators, led by the party’s Mumbai chief Sanjay Nirupam met Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 1) Abhishek Trimukhe and handed over a written complaint against Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta. “This is a land scam worth Rs 500 crore under the nose of none other than the BMC commissioner,” Nirupam alleged.
On Wednesday, Samajwadi Party corporate Rais Shaikh and Congress corporator Ravi Raja presented a series of questions to the standing committee chairman and BMC officials. Raja said, “This cannot happen unless top officials are involved. However, an office boy was framed in the matter and he died under mysterious circumstances. Action should be taken against the commissioner for failing in his duties,” Raja said.
The civic body, however, rejected the charges. All due processes were followed to acquire the plot despite the fact that the purchase notice was not served through a proper channel, Mehta said in an official press statement issued by his office.
The Improvement Committee, which governs the municipality’s land use related matters, also took up the matter on Tuesday. The Chairman of the Improvements Committee and its members on Tuesday asked for a report on the sequence of events.
A BMC worker associated with the case died last month after being run over by a train. Nirupam alleged that the man had been “killed”.
The BMC official statement said the civic body’s proposal to acquire the plot was submitted to the collector after approval of the BMC on November 16, 2017. The Municipal Commissioner on December 12, 2017, wrote his remark in the file saying, “This is a serious matter and the same should be challenged in the Supreme Court.” This was tampered with to read as “should not be challenged”.