Subhash Ghai’s training academy may surrender excess land: HC

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today suggested that Whistling Woods, the film training academy founded by producer-director Subhash Ghai, may surrender the excess land in its possession to the government.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice G S Godbole was hearing a PIL filed by Rajendra Sontakke and four others, alleging "gross abuse of power" by former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh in allotment of land in suburban Mumbai to Whistling Woods.

The judges said that academy could return the excess land and continue using the already built structure for the next two years, as students had been enrolled this year for a two-year course.

The court reserved its final order on the PIL.

Counsel for the academy, Prasad Dhakephalkar, told the court that it was willing to surrender excess land, provided it was allowed to retain the structure housing the academy.

"We are also willing to pay market rate as of year 2000 with interest. There is no point in demolishing the structure," said advocate Dhakepalkar.

The counsel further claimed that the PIL really targeted Vilasrao Deshmukh, and the academy and Ghai were caught in the cross-fire.

But advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, petitioner`s lawyer, sought a CBI inquiry.

Maharashtra Film Stage and Cultural Development Corporation Limited, in 2000, had entered into a joint venture with Mukta Arts to start Whistling Woods.


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