No agreement for lease of land to BJP beyond 1991 found: government

Maharashtra government today told the Bombay High Court that no agreement beyond 1991 between the government and BJP for lease of the land at Nariman Point area here, where the party's state headquarters is located, could be found.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by Nariman Point Churchgate Citizens Welfare Trust alleging that some illegal alterations have been made at the BJP office and while the party had been allotted 2,682 sq ft of area, the existing building has over 9,000 sq ft area.

A division bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka had yesterday demanded to see the agreements executed between the state and the party for the lease of the land.

The government pleader today said that the only agreement he could "lay hands on" was for 1,200 sq ft of land for the period between 1989 to 1991; no agreement for further period could be found.

To the court's question, he also said there was no lease agreement pertaining to the additional over 1,400 sq ft area which was allotted to the party later. BJP's lawyer S U Kamdar, however, said the government had granted extension for the lease from time-to-time and at present the party is paying over Rs 24,000 per month in rent to the government.

The petitioner has taken objection to offices of other political outfits in the area too.

The judges, referring to the submission by the petitioner's lawyer that it was time the political parties vacated the premises they are occupying in the area originally reserved as a green zone, remarked that "Bombay is short of open areas" and BJP and other respondents should consider
this point and submit a reply.

The hearing was adjourned for further arguments to March 1.

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