Union Minister Rajeev Shukla gives back Mumbai plot to government

Rajiv Shukla In 2007, Shukla was secretary of the organisation and was given the plot during former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s tenure. (PTI)
Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs RajivShukla has decided to return the controversial Mumbai plot allotted to his Bag Film Education Society (BFES) to the Maharashtra government. Shukla claimed he has decided to give back the land despite incurring major financial loss to the tune of Rs 5 to 6 crore. He asserted that the plot which was given to him under the state's policy was never in his possession.

In a letter to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, he said, "I wish to return the land allotted to me by the state government as we have not been able to carry out the project as it is not encroachment free. I have not been able to take the possession of the land or proceed with the school project."

Officials in CMO confirmed, "We have received a letter from Shukla urging the government to reclaim the land."

Shukla was allotted a plot measuring 2,821 sqm — reserved for a municipal school by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation — for Rs 98,735. Another 3,534-sqm plot — reserved for a playground — was leased for 15 years to BFES for a meagre Rs 6,309. BFES is headed by Shukla's wife Anuradha Pradad. In 2007, Shukla was secretary of the organisation and was given the plot during former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh's tenure.

The developments come in the wake of mounting pressure from the Opposition and the Congress's decision to not come in defence of the land deal. The Chief Minister who is facing the Opposition wrath in the ongoing winter session on the issue, had indicated that if there were any irregularities he would act.

Shukla said, "At the outset I would like to state that there was nothing illegal about the land which was allotted as per the existing guidelines of state government."

"Since there have been controversy with the Opposition levelling charges against me, I have decided to give up the land. When the land was given it had illegal slums. I had spent money for their resettlement. Till date it has not become slum-free," he added.

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