The Maharashtra government on Thursday defended allotment of land to BJP MP Hema Malini in suburban Andheri to set up a dance academy saying it was done as per its land allotment policy and was not a 'mistake'.
Hema Malini. Pic/Atul Kamble
"The land was allotted as per the government policy. The land has not been sold. It is on lease," Maharashtra Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse told reporters in Mumbai. "The allotment of land to Hema Malini was not a mistake," he said.
He argued that if Malini's land has to be returned, then all such allotments to artists, educationists - including some former ministers - clubs, hospitals, and even to police gymkhana would have to be taken back.
Khadse said if any hospital built on the government land refuses treatment to poor people, the plot will be taken back. The Opposition had criticised the BJP-led government for the allotment of land to Malini's Natyavihar Kalakendra Charity Trust. The actor-turned politician had said she struggled for 20 years to get the land.
Malini has been allotted 2,000 square metres land for building her dance institute. Besides, she has to develop a garden on the remaining 27,000 square metres. The land allotment to Malini ran into controversy after RTI activist Anil Galgali brought the issue to the fore and demanded Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis either cancel the allotment or give it at the market rate.
It was alleged that the prime piece of land was given to the Mathura MP at a throwaway price of Rs 70,000. Malini was also facing an allegation of violating CRZ rules by destroying mangroves on a plot earlier allotted to her at Versova.