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Why actors Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia’s firm is facing probe

The BJP has said the Deshmukhs' firm was accorded special favours by the previous Maharashtra government. What are the allegations here? We explain.

Riteish and Genelia Deshmukh.Riteish Deshmukh is the son of former Maharashtra CM Vilasrao Deshmukh. His brothers are active in politics. (Photo via Instagram.com/riteishd)

Maharashtra minister Atul Save on Wednesday (November 30) said a probe has been ordered after alleged irregularities were found in how an agro-processing company, owned by actors Riteish Deshmukh and his wife actor Genelia Deshmukh, availed land and loans.

What is the controversy about? We explain.

What are the allegations here?

In October this year, the BJP claimed it obtained information about land allocation under the Right to Information (RTI), which showed that the Deshmukhs were accorded special favours by the state government.

At the centre of the controversy is the plot for an agro-processing unit in the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) area in the town of Latur.

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The MIDC is an investment promotion agency of the Maharashtra government. It set up industrial areas in the state and has procedures for bidding on plots in the state that it makes available to entrepreneurs.

It allotted the land to a company called Desh Agro Pvt Ltd, in which Riteish and Genelia Deshmukh are partners with equal shares, allegedly at a concessional rate of Rs 605 per square metre within three weeks of its formation. The application for land was processed within 10 days.

The company, with a share capital of Rs 7.50 crore, was set up for processing soybean.

According to the ruling BJP, the company also applied for a loan on October 4, 2021, with the Pandharpur Urban Cooperative Bank and the bank approved it on October 27. It then applied for a loan with the Latur District Central Cooperative Bank and a loan of Rs 61 crore was approved on October 27. It took a loan of another Rs 55 crore from the bank on July 25, 2022.

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What has the company said regarding the allegations?

Desh Agro Pvt Ltd has denied the allegations as “baseless and factually wrong”.

BJP leaders in Latur claim that the land allotment was out of turn, during the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government of which the Congress was a member.

Riteish Deshmukh is the son of former Maharashtra chief minister and Congress leader late Vilasrao Deshmukh. His elder brother Amit was a minister in the MVA government and his younger brother Dhiraj is an MLA from the Latur rural constituency.

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“Our (BJP’s) Latur district president (Gurunath) Mage had written a letter (raising the issue). I don’t know anything about the MIDC, but I have ordered an inquiry to check if there was any irregularity on the part of the banks,” Save, the state Cooperative Minister, told PTI.

First published on: 01-12-2022 at 18:35 IST
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