BJP wants Deshmukh’s removal over new land row
IANS NEW DELHI THE BJP on Thursday sought central cabinet minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s resignation after the Supreme Court pulled him up over land allocation when he was Maharashtra’s chief minister.
The apex court on Wednesday observed that the 20 acre land allotted to filmmaker Subhash Ghai in Goregaon, Mumbai, for his film academy was not transparent. It dismissed an appeal by Ghai’s Mukta Arts Ltd challenging a Bombay High Court order quashing allotment of land.
“The way in which he allotted a land for a media baron, which was stuck down by the high court and the Supreme Court, Deshmukh has no moral authority to be in cabinet and he should step down,” said BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman. She added: “No way you can justify his continuance in the cabinet.” “The BJP demands his resignation.
If he doesn’t step down, then the prime minister should remove him,” she added.
The CAG in a recent report is learnt to have indicted Vilasrao Deshmukh for preferential allotment of a plot in Mumbai to a trust founded by him and holding on to it for four years in breach of conditions.
According to the report, the 23,840 sq m plot in suburban Borivali was allotted to the Manjara Charitable Trust by the government on September 28, 2005, when Deshmukh was state’s chief minister, for opening a dental college at an occupancy price of Rs 6.56 crore. “It was noticed that out of four applicants for the plot, the chief minister approved application of the Manjra charitable trust in preference to the to the other three applicants without assigning any specific reason,” the report said.
The report said that the basic condition while allotting the land, that entire work should be completed within a period of two years so as to commence educational activities, was not included in the agreement.
Though four years elapsed after taking possession of the land, it was not put to use for the intended purpose. In April 2011, the trust requested the collector to alter the purpose of the use of land from dental college to educational activity as it was not in a position to start dental college.
“This reveals that requisitioning of the land was just with an intention to holding on to it. As per ready reckoner of 2006, the market value of the land was Rs 30.37 crore. Non mentioning of the mandatory clause that the entire work should be completed within a period of two years, deprived the government to resume back the land and the trust got to retain it by paying merely Rs 6.56 crore,” the report said.