A two-member bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court in Indore has directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to inquire into alleged irregularities committed while constructing the Treasure Island mall and submit a report within six months.
The mall-cum-multiplex on MG Road, among the city's most popular destinations, has been shrouded in controversy ever since it was built.
Two-time chief minister and current AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh also came under the scanner, but his name was dropped by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) while submitting the chargesheet, which was later challenged by the petitioner.
In their order, Justice PK Jaiswal and Justice Moolchandra directed the CBI to investigate the issue on certain key points.
First, what is the significance of the code words 'X-299' in the proposal forwarded by the then chief minister Digvijaya Singh to the then chief secretary AV Singh? In the note-sheet in which the proposal had been prepared, Digvijaya Singh had written 'Reference Manish Kalani' and under this he had written 'X-299'. Later, in his statement to the EOW, the then under-secretary of housing in the environment ministry, CB Patwar had said that 'X-299' meant that the matter was of top priority.
Secondly, if 'X-299' meant giving top priority, then what was the role of the then chief minister, the then housing minister Rakesh Chaturvedi AV Singh and the other senior officials in expediting the matter?
Thirdly, should a FAR (Floor Area Ratio) of 1: 2.50 have been permitted for the construction of the mall. FAR is the ratio of the total built-up area to the area of the plot. The land use of the road where the mall was constructed was only residential and according to rules an FAR of only 1:1.25 should have been given. Fourthly, if public purpose was cited as the reason behind changing the land use (under Section 23 A of Nagar Tatha Gram Nivesh Adhiniyam, 1973) from residential to commercial, how was the public purpose served?
At the time Treasure Island mall was being constructed, MG Road was a residential area. However, permission for commercial activity was given, but it was given for the plot measuring 90 metres by 30 metres and the note sheet giving the permission clearly mentions this fact. However, Treasure Island was constructed in the entire plot measuring 90m by 120m.