Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked Maharashtra government to inform on February 24 the status of two plots it had allegedly allotted at a throwaway price in suburban Andheri to an educational society, whose secretary was Congress MP and Union minister Rajiv Shukla, for establishing a school and a club.
Counsel for Bags Films Education Society (BFES) today produced before the court a letter written by the Society to the government saying they were surrendering the plots to the state.
The high court was hearing a PIL alleging that the state government led by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had acted illegally in allotting the plots to BFES, although these were reserved for a municipal school and a playground respectively.
The PIL was filed by NGO `Save Open Spaces` and its convenor Ashok Pandit.
One of the plots admeasuring 2821 square metres was allotted in 2008 on ownership basis to BFES for Rs 98,375 on the basis of 1976 rates while another adjacent plot reserved for a playground was given on lease for 15 years for mere Rs 6309.
The PIL alleged that the actual market value of these plots was to the tune of Rs 100 crore.
Taking the BFES letter on record, the bench headed by the Chief Justice asked the state government to inform the status of the two plots on February 24, specifying whether they had been surrendered by the Society to the government as stated in the letter.
The petitioner`s counsel Vibhav Krishna argued that various ministries and government departments had allegedly favoured BFES and allotted the land reserved for public purpose to BFES without verifying its eligibility.
The PIL alleged the state had granted "undue and excess concession" by allotting the land in 2008 at 25 per cent of the rates for 1976 for primary school on the ownership basis and 10 per cent rate for the grant of lease for playground.
It was argued that rules were flouted while allotting the lands to the society.