Maharashtra government faces flak over Hema Malini getting plot cheaply

Mumbai, Jan 29 (IANS) The allotment of a prime plot worth crores of rupees at a throwaway price to BJP MP Hema Malini has stoked a row with the opposition Congress and NCP on Friday accusing the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena alliance of adopting ‘dual standards’.

“The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) says one thing but does something else — this is double standards,” said MP and state Congress President Ashok Chavan, criticising the allotment to the former Bollywood ‘dreamgirl’ Malini, an MP from Mathura.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) state spokesperson Nawab Malik also questioned what he termed as “an improper decision on the part of the government”.

“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?” Malik said, demanding that the allotment should be cancelled forthwith.

Chavan pointed out that the government had promised to draft a new policy on the issue of allotting government plots, which direct affect the state exchequer.

“But, in the case of their party MP the process laid down has been by-passed,” Chavan said.

Malik said the government is going back on its own policy of taking back reserved plots allotted to various groups or organisations earlier, but now it has gone ahead and given a prime piece of open land reserved for a garden to Hema Malini.

However, Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse (BJP), who had sanctioned the allotment last month, said in Pune that the plot given to Hema was only after following rules and regulations.

“There is nothing irregular about the allotment and all rules have been followed,” Khadse told media-persons about the 2000-sq.mt. land in Andheri west.

The matter was exposed after an RTI activist Anil Galgali secured documents pertaining to the allotment to Hema Malini from the Mumbai Suburban District Collector.

According to the RTI documents, not only did Hema Malini get the new plot worth several crores of rupees for a paltry Rs.70,000, but this is the second time she has been allotted a prime plot in the fashionable western suburbs.

Earlier, in 1997 the (then) Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party government had given her a plot of land, but she could not develop it due to CRZ issues, and the plot remains in her possession — which is against the norms, Galgali said.

In April 1997, she got the plot for Rs.10 lakhs but since it fell partly under CRZ, she never developed it, nor she raised 25 percent of the project cost yet continues to retain that plot, he pointed out.

In the new allotment, the Hema Malini Dance Academy’s cultural complex project is expected to cost around Rs.18.49 crore for which she is yet to submit proof of 25 percent funds availability and resources to raise the balance 75 percent.

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