A group of social activists led by Medha Patkar today demanded a CBI inquiry into the "scam" related to the alleged diversion and misuse of land acquired illegally by a builder from housing cooperatives in a suburban area in Mumbai.
"The incident in question is the illegal demolition of hundreds of houses in various co-operative housing societies by this builder (Shivalik Ventures) in the name of slum rehabilitation at a prime area in Mumbai Khar Santa Cruz area," Patkar claimed at a press conference here.
The activists pointed to the alleged misuse of '3-K Clause' of the Maharashtra Slum Act, 1971, which provides sweeping powers to the builder for carrying out work at the proposed township area.
"There are a total of 46 societies in 125 acres for which the Shivalik ventures have received consent for redevelopment. Some of these societies have pucca buildings which are 80-100 years old.
And also of the said 125 acres of land, some are private and some portion belong to the Ministry of Defence," she said. "Fake affidavits, fraudulent societies and fake signatures of the dead... They resorted to all tactics to force out the people," Patekar claimed and alleged that people close to two former chief ministers had vested interests in such cases of land encroachment.
Around 7,000 families would be affected if the demolition drive goes on. In fact, the demolition drive would begin from tomorrow itself, she said. Shivalik Ventures also entered into joint ventures with various other developers like Madhu construction, which were engaged by the slum societies for development works, Patekar alleged.
"We request that the new Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan who is known for his clean image should order an inquiry into these irregularities," she said.
Prerna Gaikwad, a member of one of the many forums that are opposing the demolition drive in co-operatives, said they (the people of these co-operatives) were willing to fight till the last for their right of living. "We have spent our lives there...some entire generations have lived under the same roof.
And now suddenly, in the name of rehabilitation you illegally evict us...we will do whatever is required to stop this illegal demolition drive in our co-operatives, and so we demand a CBI probe into this whole nexus of builders, politicians and others who are involved in it," she said. The comments of companies in question were not available immediately.