Mumbai: Asserting that there was enough land available for housing policemen, the Maharashtra Government on Friday justified before the Bombay High Court de-reservation of a plot meant for police quarters in posh Juhu area and its sale to a private developer.
However, petitioner Ketan Tirodkar, who had challenged the de-reservation, produced a Government Resolution (GR) of 2009 which said there was not sufficient land available in the city to provide quarters to policemen.
The GR was taken on record by a bench headed by Justice B H Marlapalle which deferred the matter to September 27. The petitioner alleged there were more than 50 such plots which had been de-reserved and sold to private builders.
However, the Government denied the allegation and said the petitioner had not provided details of these 50 plots. The bench then asked the government to provide a list of
plots in the state which had been de-reserved. To this, Public Prosecutor Pandurang Pol said such a list had been submitted to the court in a PIL filed earlier. The court then passed an order calling for the papers submitted by the government in PIL.
B R Wadhawe, Jt Secretary (Home), in an affidavit, said the de-reservation of Plot 194 A at Juhu was done by the state in 2003 as there was sufficient land available for police
housing. Also, no budgetary allocation had been made for acquiring the plot although the land was reserved for more than 20 years, he said. The petition filed by former scribe Tirodkar was based on an RTI reply received from the office of Mumbai Police Commissioner according to which plot 194 A at Juhu Vile Parle Development Scheme, reserved for police quarters, had been de-reserved by the state and alloted to Akruti builders.
The petition further alleged that two 11-storeyed towers now stood on this plot of land. It argued that de-reservation should not have taken place particularly in view of the fact
that there is shortage of quarters for policemen.
Tirodkar alleged this case was only the tip of the iceberg and there were many such cases in which land meant for gardens or police housing had been de-reserved and sold to developers.
The petition prayed that government officers and politicians responsible for making such de-reservations should be booked under IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act.