The controversy over industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s Altamount Road luxury residence ‘Antilia’ refuses to die down.
The state government told the Assembly on Monday that the Centre had said it could consider referring the Antilia land deal between the Ambani-owned Antilia Commercial Pvt Ltd and a Muslim orphanage, Karimbhai Ibrahimbhai Khoja Orphanage (a charitable trust), to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The state government revealed this when some legislators questioned the deal.
Minority affairs minister Mohammed Arif (Naseem) Khan said, in a written reply, that the government has sought the opinion of its law and judiciary department but was yet to take a decision on the same. “The matter has been sent to the home department for its opinion,” said Khan.
Speaking to the media in his office, home minister RR Patil said he did not know much about the matter because his department received the case six days ago.
Officially, the state government can petition the Centre to tell the CBI to take over the probe being conducted by the state agencies.
Earlier, the Opposition leader in the Assembly, Eknath Khadse, Girish Bapat and Sanjay Bhegde raised the issue during question hour.
Khan said, in his written reply, the orphanage had paid the government a penalty of Rs16 lakh to regularise the deal. “The Waqf board served a notice to the trust in 2004 but it withdrew the notice after receiving the penalty in 2005.”
“Now the ball is in Patil’s court,” said NCP legislator Nawab Malik. “Paying a penalty cannot regularise any Waqf land with retrospective effect,” he added. Khadse wants the state to restore the land to the Waqf board.
Khan said the state was unable to control the ‘undervalued’ deal as the transaction happened between two non-government parties.