Shinde, Vilasrao, SB Chavan trusts also got prime Mumbai land for a pittance

Rajiv shukla plotsA 4,000-sq m government plot in the prime Bandra-Kurla Complex in Mumbai, initially reserved for open space and a stadium, was allotted to Sushil Kumar Shinde’s Sushil Kumar Sambhaji Shinde Pratisthan in 2009. (PTI)

Sandeep Ashar

Union minister Rajiv Shukla's BAG Films Education Society was not the only organisation linked to a politician that was allotted prime land in Mumbai at throwaway prices for educational purposes.

An investigation by The Indian Express has found that trusts backed by four former chief ministers, one of whom is a Union cabinet minister now, a state cabinet minister, two MLAs and a former MLA, were also allotted plots at dirt cheap rates in the last three decades.

Documents obtained under the RTI Act show that the state government has allotted at least 25 such plots in the city's suburbs alone. Of these, 16 were allotted at concessional rates on occupancy basis for school and colleges. The plots allotted included large ones in prime areas such as Bandra-Kurla Complex, Bandra, Andheri, Kandivali, Malad and Ghatkopar.

A senior state government official said terms and conditions of allotment have been violated in several cases. These range from not using the plot for the purpose allotted within the set deadline, delay in payment of premium or interest and illegal change of use.

Despite granting the plots at hugely concessional rates, the state government has also permitted up to 30 per cent commercial exploitation in many cases, the official said.

For instance

* A 4,000-sq m government plot in the prime Bandra-Kurla Complex in Mumbai, initially reserved for open space and a stadium, was allotted to Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde's Sushil Kumar Sambhaji Shinde Pratisthan in 2009 for a paltry Rs 9 lakh for a school when it was worth Rs 21 crore as per the ready reckoner (RR) rates fixed by the government. Construction work for the school is yet to begin in violation of a stipulation requiring completion of such work within two years of allotment. The concessional rate was applied to use the land for a school. But a board at the site says the Pratisthan plans to use it also for a college, a community hall, and a training centre for competitive exams. At current RR rates, the plot is worth Rs 41 crore.

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