The Bombay High Court today asked Whistling Woods International, the film school founded by Bollyood producer Subhash Ghai, to pay Rs 10.38 crore as lease amount to Maharashtra Film Stage and Cultural Development Corporation (MFSCDC) which runs the Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagari ('the Film City') here.
The HC has also stayed its earlier order (on a PIL) asking WWI to vacate the premises. The amount is towards the rent arrears since 2000 when the 20-acre land was allotted to Ghai's academy at the Film City in suburban Goregaon by the erstwhile Vilasrao Deshmukh Government.
Whistling Woods International will pay Rs 1.38 crore within ten days and the rest in five equal monthly instalments, said the bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah in an interim order, while hearing a petition filed by the institute.
Whistling Woods has filed a petition seeking review of an earlier High Court order which had asked it to vacate the land by July 31, 2014. The 20-acre land was allotted to Whistling Woods in 2000. In 2003, questions were raised about alleged undervaluation of land at Rs 3 crore against the market rate of Rs 31 crore.
The High Court in 2011 ruled against the Whistling Woods in response to a PIL which alleged that it had got undue concessions. HC directed it to return the unused 14.5-acre land and vacate the rest by July 31, 2014. The decision was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012.
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