Mumbai: The Supreme Court of India ordered veteran filmmaker Subhash Ghai to return 21 acres of land, on which his film academy Whistling Woods stands, to the Maharashtra government.
The SC order came in the wake of a long standing tussle between Subhash Ghai and the Maha government.
Reportedly, the land was given to Mr Ghai in 2000 by then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh. The Supreme Court today described the deal as, "The largesse of a state doled out at the behest of the Chief Minister at a paltry sum to a blue-eyed boy." Mr Deshmukh is currently a union minister.
Slamming claims of Deshmukh, the apex court agreed with the Bombay High Court`s decision in February that said Mr Ghai would have to return 14.5 acres of land to the government immediately, which is currently vacant at his academy.
The rest of the 5.5 acres of land that is in use is to be given back in 2014 so that students currently enrolled can complete their courses without any disruptions.
Mr Ghai had appealed to the Supreme Court against the High Court`s ruling.
Earlier, the High Court criticised Mr Deshmukh, describing the deal between the government and Mr Ghai as "illegal, arbitrary and without authority of law." Mr Deshmukh has appealed to the Supreme Court to have those remarks against him expunged.
"It is not acceptable that a Chief Minister will personally sign such an agreement, which is illegal. It is clear that Vilasrao has extended undue favours to Ghai`s Whistling Woods," the High Court judges had said.