The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has pointed out several irregularities in allotment of land and apartments by the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), in each and every case the beneficiary being trusts belonging to politicians or societies formed by IAS and IPS officials.
While the CAG report doesn’t directly name the bureaucrats and politicians involved, the cumulative total of losses due to preferential allotments works out to be Rs 28 crore. It cites the instance of revenue lost in course of allotment of apartments to Rajyog society in Versova, a colony that houses several MLAs and MLCs. It also details the loss to the state exchequer due to allotment of housing board land in three cases: to Meera society in Oshiwara which is a housing colony for IAS and IPS officials, to Raigad Military School Trust run by Congress MLA and former MHADA chairman Madhukar Chavan and to Kasegaon Education Society, a trust belonging to NCP’s Jayant Patil, who is a cabinet minister.
In case of Rajyog society, the state housing department directed MHADA to allot 225 apartments each with a carpet area of 965 sq ft to the society in August 2009. The chief promoter of the society housing serving and former MLAs, MLCs and ministers, is cabinet minister Harshvardhan Patil. The CAG points out that MHADA failed to capitalize interest on the sale price of the apartments up to the actual date of allotment and instead computed it for only until March 2009, leading to a loss of Rs 4.32 crore. Also, despite the society failing to pay up the total sale price of Rs 95.54 crore on time, neither did MHADA cancel the allotment nor did it penalize the society with one per cent of the total cost resulting in non-recovery of Rs 14.31 crore in dues.
In case of allotment of 6,961 sqm land at Oshiwara to Meera Society, the report states that MHADA “extended undue favour” by granting additional floor space index (FSI) even where it was not available. The society was in news last year for the alleged involvement of some of its members in a sex racket involving models and actresses.
Similarly, MHADA allotted a plot to Raigad Military school (RMS) in 2002 and later in 2004 issued a new policy allowing allottees of school plots to sublease their plots for commercial purposes provided they shared a percentage of the revenue with MHADA. RMS then sub-leased part of the plot to Invention Realtors without paying any revenue to MHADA. In this case as well as that of Meera society, the CAG says that “lack of robust internal controls in MHADA” led to non-recovery of Rs 3.48 crore in dues and Rs 5.04 crore in interest.
In case of Patil’s Kasegaon trust, the CAG states that the housing department directed MHADA to allot land in Islampur in Sangli to KES at the rates prevailing in 1983 instead of the current market rates of 2009, leading to a loss of Rs 85.41 lakh. Incidentally, Patil is a five-time MLA from Islampur constituency.