Under fire over allotment of a plot in Amboli worth crores to actor and BJP MP Hema Malini at a throwaway price, the state government yesterday said it would take back another plot that had been allotted to her in Versova earlier on. The decision comes even as officials say they are yet to decide the cost of the Amboli plot.
The matter was exposed after an RTI activist Anil Galgali secured documents pertaining to the allotment to Hema Malini from the Suburban District Collector.
Earlier in the day, the Congress turned up the heat on the BJP-led government for the recent allotment of land in the Amboli area of Andheri to Malini’s Natyavihar Kalakendra Charity Trust at a throwaway price of Rs 70,000.
The BJP defended it saying such allotments for cultural institutions had happened in the Congress regime too. “Revenue and Forest departments have been ordered to place reservation for a garden on the plot of land being taken back. The (latest) land allotment was not a new one, but was in the nature of alternate allotment,” Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse said of the Amboli plot.
According to Mumbai Suburban District Collector Shekhar Channe, revenue officials were yet to evaluate the cost of the land in Amboli. When asked whether Malini was being charged only Rs 70,000, he said, “The order for allotment in Amboli has been issued, but the cost of the land is yet to be worked out.”
Khadse said the trust had applied for the land in 1996 for classical music, art, dance and other cultural purposes. “In 2002, possession of the land was secured by the trust after paying an advance sum of Rs 10 lakh. But a portion of this land at Versova fell under the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) provisions and so the trust could not make any construction there,” he said.
The trust then applied for allotment of a 5,000-sq-metre plot at Amboli, out of a 29,360-sq-m open land reserved for a garden.
The government allotted 2,000 sq m of land to the trust on the condition that it would develop a garden on the remaining portion, the senior minister said.
In 2010, the Urban Development Department even held a public hearing over the allotment at Amboli, he said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) says one thing but does something else — this is double standards
- Ashok Chavan, MP and state president, Congress
They are claiming that it is a re-allotment. How can there be a re-allotment on an open plot which is reserved for a garden or playground?
- Nawab Malik, spokesperson, NCP