Mumbai: The Jeevan Vikas Pratishthan Trust (JVPT), headed by former Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, on Tuesday told the Bombay High Court the premises allotted to the trust to run a school for deaf and mute children was converted into a commercial building due to paucity of funds for the trust`s activities.
The trust filed an affidavit on Tuesday in reply to a PIL filed by a social worker Vishal Yadav alleging that although 5130 sq feet plot was given to the trust to run a school in 1981 by the Latur municipal council, in 2005, when Deshmukh was
CM, the council passed a resolution permitting commercial construction of shops on the plot.
Arguing for Yadav, senior counsel Mahesh Jethmalani said, that the only reasoning given by the trust for not building a school there is that the area is noisy and
therefore the deaf and mute children would not be able to study.
He pointed out that the second floor of the commercial building constructed on the plot was leased out to Deshmukh`s son Amit, who is running Vikas Co-operative Bank from there.
Amit in his affidavit filed today, denied allegations of foul play and said that the bank had bid for the premises after they were advertised in leading newspapers.
The trust`s affidavit mentions that under the lease deed between the Latur municipal council and the trust, the council had the right to relax the condition in the lease with approval from the state government.
"It is due to inadequacy of funds that JVPT was compelled to request the council to relax the condition that the premises must be used for a special school. There was no question of using Deshmukh`s influence to get the condition relaxed as he was serving in any ministerial capacity, when the trust had sought the land in 1981," the affidavit filed by the trust`s secretary Ramanuj Randad said.