Mumbai, Feb 7 IANS | 10 months ago

The Maharashtra government has initiated proceedings to take back the plot of land allotted to a trust run by union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said here Friday.

"The land was reserved for and had been allotted for educational purposes. The BAG Films Education Society (BFES) is running several educational complexes around the country. The state government allotted the land on a 15-year long lease to the BFES for setting up an educational complex," Chavan said in a statement.

He added that the BFES had made the necessary payment for the land as decided by the state government.

Chavan said that now the state government has been directed to initiate proceedings to take back the land from BFES and directed the additional chief secretary (revenue) for this purpose.

The 2,821 square metres plot in a prime location in Andheri West was allotted to the BAG Films Education Society (BFES), New Delhi, run by Shukla and his wife Anuradha Prasad, in 2007 during the tenure of the late Vilasrao Deshmukh, who was the chief minister then.

In December 2013, state Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kirit Somaiya alleged a scam, saying that the land was allotted at a throwaway price to Shukla's trust though the market value was around Rs.1 billion.

Moreover, there were allegations that the trust had flouted the norms by not constructing an educational institution for which it was allotted the land and instead planned to construct a posh club house with a swimming pool in it, he said.

However, Shukla denied any wrongdoing in the allotment and said that the BFES had not even taken physical possession of the land which was encroached upon by 40 hutments.

After the controversy erupted, the BFES offered to return the plot back to the state government despite claiming to have incurred a financial loss of over Rs.50 million on the project.

(Posted on 07-02-2014)

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