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HindustanTimes Mon,24 Nov 2014

Centre wants CBI to probe Mukesh Ambani home deal

Zia Haq, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 04, 2011
First Published: 02:27 IST(4/6/2011) | Last Updated: 02:29 IST(4/6/2011)

The Centre has recommended to the Maharashtra government that the CBI look into the sale of a plot — allegedly wakf property — that houses industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s multi-storeyed home on Altamount Road, Mumbai.

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The 22-level custom home, which according to Forbes,  is the world’s priciest pad, is valued at $2 billion (Rs9,000cr). It has six floors of parking lots and an open-air atrium of gardens, flowers and lawns.

The Centre’s advice for a CBI probe came after the PMO called for a report from the minority affairs ministry on whether a former CEO of the Maharashtra Wakf Board had been “victimised” by then CM Vilasrao Deshmukh — currently a Union minister — for resisting the allegedly illegal sale of the land, which had an orphanage running. HT has reviewed contents of both letters.

The 4,532-sqm plot, roughly the size of a football field, had been acquired by the Ambani-backed Antilla Commercial Pvt Ltd for Rs21 crore after it was given a “NoC” from the Wakf Board and permission from the charity commissioner, Mumbai. Its market value is estimated to be nearly Rs500 crore.

The Currimbhoy Ebrahim Khoja Orphanage Trust, which sold the land to Antilla Pvt. Ltd, has stated in court that the plot was not a wakf property.

However, the secretary of the minority affairs ministry, Vivek Mehrotra, wrote to the state, saying: “Prima facie, it appears that the laws and rules under the Wakf Act were not correctly applied when the sale of wakf property of 4,532 sqm at Altamount Road was made to Antilla Commercial Pvt. Ltd. The Govt. of Maharashtra may, therefore, consider referring the matter to the CBI.”

The state, in replies to the ministry, has said the plot was sold in “contravention to section 51 of the Wakf Act” and action was being taken towards restoring the property to its original state.

A spokesperson for Reliance Industries Limited did not respond to queries from HT.  State minority affairs minister Naseem Khan on Friday said the government was yet to receive any communication from the Centre.
(Input from HTC, Mumbai)


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