Rajiv Shukla's land: Allotment review on, Cong won't shield him
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The Mahrashtra government is seeking to review the controversial allotment of prime land in Mumbai to an organisation linked to union minister Rajiv Shukla at a throwaway price.
The move by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan's government came as the Congress distanced itself from the controversy and said Friday it had "not spared anyone" found guilty of wrongdoing and even "big ministers have been sent to jail".
Officials said Maharashtra's revenue department, which decides on allotment of state-owned land, has sought a report from the Mumbai suburban collector on land made available to Shukla's BAG Film Education Society (BFES).
The state had in December 2008 allotted a prime plot in Andheri reserved for a municipal school and leased another for a playground.
Additional chief secretary (revenue) Swadhin Kshatriya told The Indian Express that most documents related to the allotments were destroyed in the Mantralaya fire last June.
"We are checking the facts and have asked for a report from the collector," Kshatriya said. Asked if a decision has been taken to cancel the allotment, Kshatriya said: "We will take a call after we study the collector's report."
One plot measuring 2,821 sq m, and reserved for a municipal school by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, was allotted for just Rs 98,735. Another 3,534 sq m plot - reserved for a playground - was leased for 15 years to BFES for a paltry Rs 6,309.
BFES, headed by Shukla's wife Anuradha Prasad, had entered into a joint venture with RIMS International, a management education institute which also runs schools, months after the allotment.
Shukla was secretary of BFES in 2007 when it applied for land. He has sought to put a lid on the controversy by meeting Chavan and offering to return the plot if there was any irregularity in the allotment.