State may refer Ambaniís Wakf land deal to CBI

The state government has sought the Home Department's opinion on ordering a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities in the purchase of Wakf land on Altamount Road by Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani to build his skyscraper residence 'Antilia'.

Minority Development Minister Nasim Khan, in a written reply to a question by leader of the opposition Eknath Khadse and others in the Assembly, said the Centre had informed the state in December 2010 that "the Government of Maharashtra may consider referring this matter to the CBI for an investigation".

"With regard to this instruction... the advice of the Law and Judiciary Department had been sought on whether this matter could be handed over to the CBI for investigation and according to that department's advice the matter has been referred to the Home Department for its opinion on July 25, 2011," said the reply.

Khan said the Currimbhoy Ebrahimbhoy Khoja Orphanage, a charitable institution, had sold the land used for the purpose of education of Khoja Muslim children to Antilia Commercial Private Limited in July 2002 for Rs 21.05 crore. The Charity Commissioner had approved the sale in August 2002.

The reply added that since the land was a Wakf property and as the consent of the Maharashtra State Wakf Board had not been sought before the sale, it had issued a notice to Antilia Commercial Private Limited in April 2004 asking why the land should not be restored to the board. However, the Wakf Board withdrew the notice in March 2005 after the Currimbhoy Ebrahimbhoy Khoja Orphanage paid Rs 16 lakh to the Wakf Board.

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