CAG indicts Vilasrao Deshmukh in land scam

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 - 22:06

Mumbai: The Comptroller and Auditor General
of India in a recent report is learnt to have indicted Union
minister Vilasrao Deshmukh for preferential allotment of a
plot in Mumbai to a trust founded by him and holding on to it
for four years in breach of conditions.

According to the report yet to be tabled in the
Maharashtra legislature, the 23,840 sq m plot in suburban
Borivali was allotted to the Manjara Charitable Trust by the
government on September 28, 2005, when Deshmukh was state`s
chief minister, for opening a dental college at an occupancy
price of Rs 6.56 crore.

"It was noticed that out of four applicants for the plot,
the chief minister approved application of the Manjra
charitable trust in preference to the to the other three
applicants without assigning any specific reason for the
preferential allotment," the report, whose purported contents
were given to the media in a CD by the Opposition, said.
The report said that the basic condition while alloting
the land, that entire work should be completed within a period
of two years so as to commence educational activities, was not
included in the agreement.

Though four years elapsed after taking possession of the
land, it was not put to use for the intended purpose. In April
2011, the trust requested the collector to alter the purpose
of the use of land from dental college to educational activity
as it was not in a position to start dental college.

"This reveals that requisitioning of the land was just
with an intention to holding on to it. As per ready reckoner
of 2006, the market value of the land was rs 30.37 crore. Non
mentioning of the mandatory clause that the entire work should
be completed within a period of two years, deprived the
government to resume back the land and the trust got to
retain it by paying merely rs 6.56 cr," the report said.
The contents of the CAG report were made public on a day
when Deshmukh was pulled up by the Supreme Court for giving 20
acres of land to film producer Subhash Ghai in 2004 for his
film institute bypassing the rules.

"One cannot be treated as blue-eyed boy for which
chief minister can bend or bypass rules to give away the land
of the state," a division bench of Justices H L Dattu and C K
Prasad observed while noting it was done for a paltry sum.

The apex court upheld the Bombay High Court order
quashing allotment of the land to Ghai`s film institute in
Filmcity in 2004 when Deshmukh was the chief minister.


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First Published: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 - 22:06

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