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Moscow mayor`s wife suspected of grabbing Indian embassy land

Russia`s richest woman is owner of an investment, construction corporation.



Moscow: Russia`s richest woman, construction magnate and the wife of the mayor of Moscow has been accused of grabbing prime land allocated to several foreign missions, including Indian embassy in the capital.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has lodged a complaint with Prosecutor General to probe into the takeover of plots allocated to foreign diplomatic missions and transferring their ownership to Yuri Luzhkov`s wife Elena Baturina, web-based Gazeta.ru reported.

Baturina is owner of investment and construction corporation Inteco which is involved in constructing elite residential buildings. She has been named as the richest woman in Russia, owning a personal fortune of USD 3.1 billion by the Forbes magazine in 2007.

"Baturina has been named in Foreign Ministry`s complaint, the concerned plots were earlier allocated to diplomatic missions of foreign countries, but later landed into ownership of other people. The probe is on and is still not complete," the website stated.

After Soviet`s collapse and restoration of ownership of land in the country, India and Russia had signed an agreement under which Russian embassy in New Delhi was to be given land ownership right on its Chanakya Puri complex in exchange for a plot in Moscow.

The plot in Moscow was to be used for building residential complex and school for the Indian embassy staff.

Under Foreign Minister Evgeny Primakov in 1990s, the Russian government had allocated a plot for this purpose, just across the Victory Park in posh Moscow locality.

However, later Indian mission was informed about the "inability" to hand over the land as "it already had different owners”.

The issue has been taken over with Russia at various levels, including at the Moscow summit during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s talks with President Dmitry Medvedev last winter.

PTI

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