Congress seeks police probe against BMC chief in ‘landscam’

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Mumbai, Aug 1 (IANS) The Mumbai Congress on Wednesday demanded stringent legal action against civic chief Ajoy Mehta and others after the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) recently lost a prime plot worth Rs 500 crore to a private party.

A delegation led by Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam met Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone I, Abhishek Trimukhe and handed over a formal two-page complaint seeking action against the BMC Commissioner and other senior officials.

“The BMC Commissioner himself, along with some senior officials, is responsible for this land scam. We have requested the police to treat Mehta and these officials from the Development Plan Department as accused,” Nirupam told mediapersons after submitting his complaint.

He said the Congress has also demanded a proper police investigation to ascertain whether a BMC peon named Valmiki, who was handling the file pertaining to this particular case, died an accidental death after falling from a running train or it was a murder.

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The plot, measuring around 13,000 square metre, or nearly 3.20 acre, is situated in Jogeshwari and had been under acquisition by the BMC after it was reserved for a hospital and housing for homeless people.

Giving a background of the case, Nirupam said that the original owner of the land, Gyanprakash Shukla, had approached the Bombay High Court in 2014 after the BMC failed to claim the land for 10 years, after the statutory acquisition period ended.

In the high court, the BMC remained unrepresented, and consequently lost the case, after which Mehta reportedly stated that the civic body “shouldn’t challenge” the matter in the Supreme Court.

Shockingly, he added that the BMC was not represented even in the Supreme Court, which dismissed the case and the civic body forfeited the plot of land worth around Rs 500 crore.

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“Thereafter, the BMC Commissioner sought to pin the entire blame on the legal department, accusing them of altering his notings on the file — from ‘should challenge’ to ‘shouldn’t challenge’. This was not an issue of ‘mishandling’, but a clear conspiracy by him and senior officials,” Nirupam alleged.

He added that given the high stakes involved, the Commissioner should have personally monitored the case, and since his role is “highly suspect”, he needs to be probed.

The Congress demanded that the police file an FIR against Mehta and others, to which DCP Trimukhe sought a month’s time to investigate the entire case.

–IANS

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