MP industry minister accused of land scam | india | Hindustan Times
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MP industry minister accused of land scam

india Updated: Apr 15, 2010 00:48 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Madhya Pradesh Industry Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya has been accused of having a role in the illegal lease sale for a plot of land owned by Indore Municipal Corporation.

An Indore court asked the state Lokayukta on April 6 to probe the allegation made by Congress leader and former minister Suresh Seth.

The Lokayukta is the highest body in states to investigate allegations of corruption in government.

Seth alleged that in 1980, the municipality leased out the three-acre land in downtown Indore to Dhanalaxmi Chemical Industries for 30 years.

But in 2004, when Vijayvargiya was the mayor, Dhanalaxmi sold the lease to Nanda Nagar Sakh Sahkari Sanstha Maryadit, a credit cooperative society — headed by one of his associates, Ramesh Mendola — for Rs 1.28 crore, although the prevailing market price was more than Rs 65 crore.

Mendola was then a member of the mayor-in-council of the municipality.

The lease deed had a condition that the housing cooperative would hold the land for 30 years from November 12, 2010, the day Dhanalaxmi’s lease deal was supposed to expire.

Soon after the sale, Mendola applied to the IMC for transferring the lease in his name and changing the character of land use from industrial to educational, health and residential.

Seth said since Dhanalaxmi was a mere tenant, it had no right to sell the lease. Also, the IMC had no right to allow the sale or the change in land use.

In 2007, the state government shot down the lease sale. But by then, Mendola had taken possession of the land. At present, there is a multi-storey building with 22 flats on the land.

Vijayvargiya, who organised the BJP’s national executive meeting in Indore in February, told HT tersely that he welcomed the probe and the truth would soon be out.

Seth, who lost the Indore mayoral election to Vijayvargiya in 1999, told HT: “The IMC did not take back its land although it knew all about the issue.”