CAG indicts Deshmukh over allotment of land to his trust

Written by: Pti
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Vilasrao Deshmukh
Mumbai, Apr 4: 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 Sept 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 allotting 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 Apr 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 HL Dattu and CK 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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