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Citing CAG report,Maharashtra Oppn alleges land scam run by 10 ministers

“Visit to the site revealed that the other floors were empty,” the alleged report says about the building.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | April 6, 2012 1:18:17 am

Claiming that they had accessed the state Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report that is yet to be tabled in the state legislature,Opposition members on Wednesday said 10 senior ministers of the state government had been beneficiaries of undue government largesse in land allotments.

BJP’s Devendra Phadanvis handed over a CD reportedly containing the report to Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil and sought a ruling from him.

The Opposition said politicians who have found their institutions named in the report are mainly education barons. Among them is a Mumbai-based trust run by a senior NCP leader that was allotted 50,000 sq m in Nashik in January 2009 on occupancy rights for Rs 7.53 lakh. In 2003,the trust was already allotted 41,300 sq m at the same location at occupancy price of Rs 1.55 lakh. The alleged report says the land was initially reserved for mining and the reservation was changed to education purpose after being sought by the trust in 2000 for an engineering college.

Stating that there was “conflict of interest” in the allotment of this land,the alleged report says scrutiny showed the Finance Department had objected to the second allocation at concessional rates in November 2008. If land was to be allotted,it would be at the market rate of 2008,the Finance Department had observed. “The total market value of this land is Rs 9.39 crore (as per ready reckoner 2008) which has been given… at Rs 9.08 lakh,” it says.

That’s not all. The land remained unutilised during a June 2011 panchnama.

The alleged report also mentions land allotted in 2005 to a charitable trust whose patron is a powerful Congress leader. A 23,840-sq m plot in Borivali,Mumbai,was allotted at concessional rate on occupancy rights to the trust for opening a dental college. The trust was to be charged 50 per cent of the market rate prevailing five years prior to allotment,as per rules. The trust paid Rs 6.56 crore and took possession of the land in 2006.

It states that the Collector failed to mention in the agreement a “basic condition” regarding completion of entire work within two years so as to commence educational activities. Also,while there had been four applicants for the land,the then chief minister had approved the application of the trust “without assigning any specific reasons for the preferential allotment”.

Further,while no dental college has been built yet,the trust in 2011 sought permission from the Collector to change the purpose of the land from ‘dental college’ to ‘educational activity’ as it was not in a position to start a dental college. “This reveals that requisitioning the land was simply with an intention of holding onto it,” the alleged report states,adding that the trust enjoyed retention of the land by paying only Rs 6.56 crore as against the market value of Rs 30.37 crore.

An educational trust in Sindhudurg,which is supported by a senior Congress minister,has been named for acquiring land on concessional lease rates,ostensibly for a community centre that was eventually used for commercial purposes including a banquet hall charging a rent of Rs 2 lakh per day for exhibitions,shoots and conferences as well as serving food and liquor alongside a DJ.

“Visit to the site revealed that the other floors were empty,” the alleged report says about the building.

It says the building was for the “upper class/ rich and not for the common man and the community centre was just a cover-up.”

Report may be tabled on April 16

Senior ministers said on Thursday the government could table the report as early as April 16. The Opposition had alleged that the government appeared unwilling to table the report in time for discussion in the Assembly. “The matter will be discussed in the Cabinet and a date will be fixed to table the report,” said a minister.

Meanwhile,most ministers whose names were read out by Shiv Sena’s Ramdas Kadam in the Legislative Council as alleged beneficiaries said the allotments were done as per law. “Allotments of land to educational institutions has been done at concessionary rates as per the policy,there is nothing improper in it. Opposition party members’ institutions are also among those who received such allotments,” said Industries Minister Narayan Rane.

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